Myths of Babylonia and Assyria
Page: 231We now enter upon the last and most brilliant phase of Assyrian civilization--the period of the Third or New Empire during which flourished Tiglath-pileser IV, the mighty conqueror; the Shalmaneser of the Bible; "Sargon the Later", who transported the "lost ten tribes" of Israel; Sennacherib, the destroyer of Babylon, and Esarhaddon, who made Lower Egypt an Assyrian province. We also meet with notable figures of Biblical fame, including Ahaz, Hezekiah, Isaiah, and the idolatrous Manasseh.
Tiglath-pileser IV, who deposed Ashur-nirari IV, was known to the Babylonians as Pulu, which, some think, was a term of contempt signifying "wild animal". In the Bible he is referred to as Pul, Tiglath-pilneser, and Tiglath-pileser. He came to the Assyrian throne towards the end of April in 745 B.C. and reigned until 727 B.C. We know nothing regarding his origin, but it seems clear that he was not of royal descent. He appears to have been a popular leader of the revolt against Ashur-nirari, who, like certain of his predecessors, had pronounced pro-Babylonian tendencies. It is significant to note in this connection that the new king was an unswerving adherent of the cult of Ashur, by the adherents of which he was probably strongly supported.
Tiglath-pileser combined in equal measure those qualities of generalship and statesmanship which were necessary for the reorganization of the Assyrian state and the revival of its military prestige. At the beginning of his reign there was much social discontent and suffering. The national exchequer had been exhausted by the loss of tribute from revolting provinces, trade was paralysed, and the industries were in a languishing condition. Plundering bands of Aramaeans were menacing the western frontiers and had overrun part of northern Babylonia. New political confederacies in Syria kept the north-west regions in a constant state of unrest, and the now powerful Urartian kingdom was threatening the Syro-Cappadocian states as if its rulers had dreams of building up a great world empire on the ruins of that of Assyria.
Tiglath-pileser first paid attention to Babylonia, and extinguished the resistance of the Aramaeans in Akkad. He appears to have been welcomed by Nabonassar, who became his vassal, and he offered sacrifices in the cities of Babylon, Sippar, Cuthah, and Nippur. Sippar had been occupied by Aramaeans, as on a previous occasion when they destroyed the temple of the sun god Shamash which was restored by Nabu-aplu-iddina of Babylon.
Tiglath-pileser did not overrun Chaldaea, but he destroyed its capital, Sarrabanu, and impaled King Nabu-ushabshi. He proclaimed himself "King of Sumer and Akkad" and "King of the Four Quarters". The frontier states of Elam and Media were visited and subdued.
Having disposed of the Aramaeans and other raiders, the Assyrian monarch had next to deal with his most powerful rival, Urartu. Argistis I had been succeeded by Sharduris III, who had formed an alliance with the north Mesopotamian king, Mati-ilu of Agusi, on whom Ashur-nirari had reposed his faith. Ere long Sharduris pressed southward from Malatia and compelled the north Syrian Hittite states, including Carchemish, to acknowledge his suzerainty. A struggle then ensued between Urartu and Assyria for the possession of the Syro-Cappadocian states.