Royal Correspondence of the Assyrian Empire
Letter 1105


DESCRIPTION

Language: Akkadian
Medium: clay tablet
Length: 63 lines of writing
Obverse: 38
Reverse: 25
Genre: Loyalty Oath
Senders: unknown
Recipient: Ashurbanipal
Approx. Date of Letter: 668–627BCE
Place of Discovery: Kouyunjik, Iraq
(ancient)
Date of Discovery: c. 1900
Discoverer:
Current Location: British Museum
Inventory Number: Kouyunjik Collection 82-5-22
Tablet Number: RCAE 1105
Harper XI. 1105 (1911)




TEXT
TRANSLITERATION
(from Waterman 1930:266, 268)
TRANSLATION
(adapted from Waterman 1930:267, 269)
1 OBVERSE
. . . . . . . Belit . . . . . the great gods . . . . . from this day . . . . . Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria . . . . with Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria, our lord . . . . whether the messenger of Shamashshumukin . . . . they do; whether from the sons of . . . . or whether from the enemy of Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria our lord, our mind we will open, we will direct our attention to interpret, and to Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria our lord, we will send, we will declare, and Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria our lord, we shall guard and the watch which he orders, we shall keep. If any guard . . . . . . . or plotter who speaks a word that is not good against Ashurbanipal, or speaks against an appointee of Ashurbanipal, and we hear it and the naming of his name, we shall put him in fetters and we shall bring him to Ashurbanipal. From this day, as long as we live, Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria, is the man we love and his land not . . . we make, we cause to make, we speak . . . . . . the enemy of Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria our lord . . . . nor those who are at peace, as many as they are . . . . . . . he speaks to us according to the word of our oath. Our bows we shall draw, and with . . . . . . we shall stand and a battle against . . . . . his enemy In the desire of our heart we shall cast down . . . . our lord, we cleanse our sin, which . . . . for Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria our lord . . . . of Shamashshumukin, may he who another land . . . . . our lord, they do not drag before us . . . . . . even an heir we shall seize and to the king, our lord, we shall send.
Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria our lord, we love, and the . . . . . from this day, as long as we live is Ashurbanipal, king of Assria our lord, and and another king and another lord for . . . . . . we shall never seek. A message for the enemy of Ashurbanipal . . . whether a message or a messenger who from another land and . . . . . the way for his feet we shall establish, and before . . . . . . . who before Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria our lord . . . .
REVERSE
. . . . . . . the land of Assyria and the land of Akkad when we for the oath of [the gods] we shall cleanse, we shall make . . . . . Ashur, the father of the gods, who determines fate; Marduk, the king of the god, the lord of the lands . . . . . ; Nabu, ruler of the whole of heaven and earth . . . . ; Shamash, the great divine judge of heaven and earth . . . . . . a judgment of wickedness may he give . . . . . . The gaze of our eyes may he lift up . . . . . . ; Sin, the illuminator of heaven and earth . . . . . . the temple and the palace may not the isriba sickness . . . . . ; Ea, king of the deep, the waters of the abyss . . . . . . may he remove us under . . . . . . ; Adad, the ruler of heaven and earth . . . . . whatever therin does not go up does not . . . . . ; Ninib, the first-born . . . . ; Nergal, mightiest of the gods . . . . . Zamama, the lofty lord of . . . . . . the divine leader, the king of the plain in . . . . . . ; Sarpanitum, bestower of . . . . ; Nana, the lady of mercy . . . . has made us sick . . . . ; Ishtar, dwelling in Arbela, the goddess of battles . . . . . . . . . . . cause us to dwell . . . . . . . . .
NOTES
Ashurbanipal reigned as king of Assyria from 668 to 627 BCE—an extremely long reign in the ancient world. He succeeded his father, Esarhaddon.
Shamashshumukin .
The king's watch .
Oath .
Akkad .
Ashur .
Marduk .
Nabu .
Shamash .
Sin .
Ea .
Adad .
Ninib .
Nergal .
Zamama .
Sarpanitum .
Nana .
Ishtar .
Arbela .




DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. How do you interpret the importance that this loyalty oath was put in writing?
2. Why are the Assyrian gods invoked at the conclusion?
3. Compare and contrast this document to the biblical narrative in Joshua 24.
4.
5.




SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
Harper, Robert F. Assyrian and Babylonian Letters. 1892-1914.
Olmstead, A. T. A History of Assyria. 1923. Smith, George. History of Ashurbanipal. Waterman, Leroy. Royal Correspondence of the Assyrian Empire. Vol. 2. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1930.


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Last Modified: 11 April 2009