Aššurbanipal: king of Assyria (r.669/8-631 or perhaps 627).
- Appointed by Esarhaddon as ruler in Babylonia
- 669/668: Made king of Assyria after an intervention by the queen mother Naqi’a; succeeded in Babylonia by his elder brother, Šamaš-šuma-ukin
- Official wife: queen Aššur-šarrat
- 667-664: Aššurbanipal inherits the war in Egypt, which he reconquers up to Thebes; the Kushite king Taharqo is expelled
- 666: Necho I appointed as viceroy of Memphis and Sais
- Babylon, which had been sacked by Senacherib and restored by Esarhaddon, is unquiet
- The Elamites intervene in those parts of Assyria adjacent to Babylonia but are repelled
- 665: Aššurbanipal recalls Assyrian troops from the country of the Nile.
- 664: Death of Taharqo. His son Tanwetamani attacks Lower Egypt but is repelled near Memphis by Necho, who is killed in action;note[Herodotus, Histories 2.152.] his son Psammetichus flees to Assyria, receives support and returns; he pursues Tanutamun and sacks Thebes; Upper Egypt is left to a local strong man named Montuemhat; in northern Egypt, this is the beginning of the 26th Dynasty
Elam and Babylonia
- In Elam, Tepti-Humban-Inshushinak (Te’umman) becomes king; several members of the Elamite court flee to Assyria.
- 653: Te’mman invades Assyrian territory east of the Tigris; during the retaliatory campaign, he is defeated at Til-Tuba on the banks of the Ulaeus River (modern Dez
- Aššurbanipal puts two vasal kings on the Elamite throne: Huban-nikaš II and Tammaritu I;
- They support the Babylonians when Šamaš-šuma-ukin decides to rebel. He is supported not only by Elam, but also by Nabu-bel-šumati of the Sealand and by the “confederation of Atarsamain”, a coalition of Arab tribes focused on the sanctuary of the goddess Atarsamain in the Duma oasis.
- 648: Aššurbanipal defeats the coalition and captures Babylon after two years of siege; Šamaš-šuma-ukin dies during the sack of his palace; the situation remains unquiet
- Renewed war against Elam
- 646: Sack of Susa (and Dur Untaš) Elam divided into many small petty kingdoms
- Aššurbanipal strengthens the Assyrian grip on the ports of Phoenicia.note[Cf. Aššurbanipal Cylinder C.]
- Contacts with the Lydian kings Gyges and Ardys, who ask and receive help against the Cimmerians.
- 631 or 627: Death.
- After 631, the situation in Babylonia is confused; perhaps Aššurbanipal remained king, albeit represented by his brother Kandalanu, perhaps Kandalanu was his autonomous successor. The Babylonians revolt against their two Assyrian governors, Sin-šum-lišir and Sin-šar-iškun. They defeat an Assyrian army and the Babylonian general Nabopolassar is recognized as king on 23 November 626. He will overthrow Assyria in the next two decades, capturing Nineveh in 612.note[ABC 3, Fall of Nineveh Chronicle.]
Aššurbanipal in Nineveh
Aššurbanipal built a new palace in Nineveh, usually called the "northern palace". It replaced an older palace, "the house of succession", which had until then been inhabited by the crown prince. The northern palace is famous for the reliefs of the lion hunt. The equally famous "Library of Aššurbanipal" is in fact a collection of more than 30,000 tablets found on various locations and not a real library. It offered modern scholars a first glimp of Mesopotamian literature.