Assyrian Emperor

(ruled 681–669 BCE)
with Tirhaka (Ethiopian King of Egypt)
and Ba'alu (King of Tyre)

This stele commemorates the Assyrian conquest
of Egypt in 671 BCE.

common name: Zincirli Stele
medium: dolerite stele
inventory number: #VA 2708
size: 3.46m high x 1.35m wide
discovery: Zincirli, Turkey (ancient Sam'al)
excavators: Deutsche morganländische Gesellschaft

museum image
museum website:
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin: Pergamonmuseum

©K. C. Hanson 1997

Text of the Inscription

To Assur, father of the gods, lover of my priesthood,
Anu, mighty and pre-eminent, who called me by name,
Bel, the exalted lord, establisher of my dynasty,
Ea, the wise, the (all-)knowing, who determines my destiny,
Sin, the shining luminary, who grants me favorable omens,
Shamash, judge of heaven and earth, who decides my decisions,
Adad, the powerful lord, who makes my armies prosper,
Marduk, sovereign lord of the Igigi and Anunnaki, who makes my kingship great
Ishtar, lady of battle and combat, who goes at my side,
The Seven, the warrior gods, who overthrow my foes,
the great gods, all of them, who determine my destriny, who grant to the king, their favorite, power (and) might.

Esarhaddon, the great king, the mighty king, king of the world, king of Assyria, viceroy of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of Karduniash, all of them, king of the kings of Musur [Lower Egypt], Paturisu [Upper Egypt], and Kusi [Ethiopia]; who fears their mighty deity, exalted despot of [Assur, Shamash,] Nabu, [and Marduk], king of kings, the unsparing, who consumes the wicked, who is clothed in terror, who is fearless in battle, the great hero, who is unrelenting in the conflict, the all-powerful prince, who holds the reins of princes, the fierce hound, avenger of the father who gebot him, the king, who with the help of Assur, Shamash, Nabu, and Mardudk, the gods, his allies, walks in integrity and attains his goals. All who were not obedient to him, the princes who did not submit to him, like a reed of the brake, he has snapped and trodden them under his feet, who provides abundant offerings for the great gods, whose [thought is of] the fear of the gods and goddesses . . .

. . . [builder] of the temple of Assur, who completed its adornment, restorer of Esagila and Babylon, who carried out (every detail) of its cult, who returned the captive people of the lands out of . . . to their places; the king, the offering of whose sacrifices the great gods love, and whose priesthood [in the temples] they have established for all time; they have presented him their unsparing weapons as a royal gift; the king, whose sovereignty the lord of lords, Marduk, has made great, far above (that of) the kings of the four quarters (of the earth), who has brought all the lands in submission at his feet, who has imposed tributre and tax upon them; conqueror of his foes, destroyer of his enemies, the king, who as to his walk is a storm, and as to his deeds a raging wolf; before him is a storm-demon, behind him a downpour; the onset of his battle is powerful, he is a consuming flame, a fire that does not extinguish. Son of Sennacherib, king of the world, king of Assyria, son of Sargon, king the world, king of Assyria, viceroy of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad; of the eternal seed of priesthood, of the line of Bel-bani, son of Adasi, who established the kingdom of Assyria, who, at the command of Assur, Shamash, Nabu, and Marduk, the great gods, his lords, overthrew the servitude of the city of Assur (am I).

I am powerful, I am all powerful, I am a hero, I am gigantic, I am colossal, I am honored, I am magnified, I am without an equal among all kings, the chosen one of Assur, Nabu and Marduk, called by Sin, Favorite of Anu, beloved of the Queen, Ishtar, goddess of all; the unrelenting weapon, which utterly destroys the enemy's land, am I.

The king, powerful in battle and combat, destroyer of the habitations of his foes, who kills his enemies, uproots his opponents, brings into submission those who were not submissive to him, who has brought under his sway the totality of all peoples, to whom Assur, Shamash, Nabu, and Marduk, my exalted lords, whose word is not altered, predestined as my lot an unrivaled kingdom, (while) Ishtar, the Lady, lover of my priesthood, made my hands to grasp a powerful bow, a mighty lance, which brings low the faithless, caused me to attain to the desire of my heart, and brought in submission at my feet all the unsubmissive princes.

When Assur, the great lord, in order to show to the peoples the immensity of my mighty deeds, made my kingship powerful over the kings of the four quarters, and made my name great; when he caused my hads to bear a stern scepter, for the annihilation of my foes, the land sinned against Assur, they treated him with scorn, they rebelled. To rob, to plunder, to extend the border of Assyria, they (the gods) filled my hands. After Assur and the great gods, my lords, commanded me to march over distant roads, wearying mountains, and mighty sands, thirsty regions—with a trusting heart I marched in safety.

Of Tirhakah, the king of Egypt and Kush, the accursed of their great godhead, from Ishhurpri to Memphis, his royal city, a march of fifteen days, I slew his warriors in great numbers. And I attacked him five times with the point of the spear in a mortal combat. Memphis, his royal city, I besieged for half a day with mines, tunnels, assaults; I destroyed, devastated, and burned it with fire. His consort, his harem, Ushanakhuru his son, and the rest of his sons and daughters, his possessions, his treasuries, his horses, his oxen, his flocks without number, I carried away to Assyria. The root of Kush I uprooted from Egypt, and not one of them escaped to submit to me. Over the whole of Egypt I installed new kings, viceroys, governors, officials, overseers, scribes. The tribute of my sovereignty, [to be paid] yearly without fail, I imposed upon them.

I had a stele made with my name inscribed, and I caused to be written on it the glory of the valor of Assur, my lord, my mighty deeds—how I went forth and back under the protection of Assur, my lord, and the might of my conquering hand. For the gaze of all my foes, to the end of days, I set it up. Whoever destroys that setele from its place, or shall blot out my inscribed name, and shall write his name, or shall cover it with dust, or cast it into the water, or burn it in the fire, or put it in some place where it cannot be seen, may Ishtar, the Lady of War and Battle, destoy his manhood, so that he shall be like a woman, may she cause him to sit in bonds under his foes. May the future prince look upon the stele with my name inscribed, may they read it before him, may he anoint it with oil, may he pour out libations, may he magnify the name of Assur, my lord.

Translation adapted from: D. D. Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylon. 1926. (pages 224–27)