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Relief around 650 BC BC, probably shows the campaign of Aššur-bāni-apli against the Elamite city of Hamanu

Aššur-bāni-apli ( Neo-Assyrian , also Ashur-bani-apli , Assur-bani-apli , biblical Ashurbanipal ) was from October 27, 669 BC. BC to 631/627 BC King of the Assyrian Empire . His name means " Aššur is the creator of the heir son". From an Assyrian chronicle from the year 640 BC. It appears that Aššur-bāni-apli was the 83rd Assyrian king "after Erišum , son of Ilu-šuma ".

He was contemporary of the last ruler of the 25th dynasty Tanotamun , and of Psammetich I , the founder of the 26th dynasty in Egypt .

19 years after the death of Aššur-bāni-apli in 631/627 BC The Assyrian Empire fell after battles for succession to the throne and the conquest by the Medes and Babylonians .



Aššur-bāni-apli on the hunt

As the second-born son of Aššur-aḫḫe-iddinas , originally not intended as heir to the throne, Aššur-bāni-apli was appointed king- designate by his father, Aššur-aḫḫe-iddina , after Aššur-bāni-apli's grandmother Naqia was able to enforce her direct family line. Aššur-aḫḫe-iddina had already been selected as Crown Prince of Assyria with the help of Naqia, contrary to the usual ranking of Sîn-aḫḫe-eriba . While still crown prince he married Libbāli-šarrat .

Through his teacher Balasi , Aššur-bāni-apli as well as Sîn-aḫḫe-eriba and Aššur-aḫḫe-iddina enjoyed a careful literary education. He left an important library in Nineveh , which included didactic, literary, religious and astronomical texts. He had his residences adorned with splendid reliefs depicting war, hunting and everyday scenes from palace life.

Iškuza in mentions Aššur-bāni-apli

Aššur-bāni-apli reports around 665 BC. Chr. Of a locust-like invasion of barbarian destroyers, which devastated the country and used for their leader Dugdamme (according to Greek tradition Lygdamis ) the Assyrian insult Gutians . As early as 667 BC King Gyges asked for Assyrian help against the wandering Iškuzaia . Aššur-bāni-apli did not respond to the call for help and noted the capture of Gyges a short time later. In the further course Gyges must have succeeded in the reconquest, since between 666 BC. BC and 650 BC A victory over the Iškuzaia is reported.

Whether Aššur-bāni-apli was able to repel the attack of the Iškuzaia completely remains a matter of dispute. The oracle priest Akullanu titled around 657 BC. In a cuneiform tablet the Iškuzaia as Kiššutu . This name was otherwise used in connection with Assyrian kings, which would speak for a short-term rule.

After Gyges' death in 644 BC His son and successor Ardys II asked again for Assyrian help. It has not yet been clarified whether this time the request was obeyed. The written tradition for Tugdamme ends around 642 BC. With his death in Kilikien . His son and successor Sandakkurru (reading Sandakšatru also possible) is mentioned in a hymn to Šamaš around 640 BC. Called BC, in which Aššur-bāni-apli asks for a final victory over the Iškuzaia ; further evidence that the threat persisted in the years after Tugdamme.

Further course

His brother Šamaš-šuma-ukin became king of Babylon as determined by Aššur-aḫḫe-iddina . He rebelled with the support of the Aramaeans , Elamites and Arabs . 647 BC BC Aššur-bāni-apli subjugated Babylonia after four years of fighting. Šamaš-šuma-ukin burned in the ruins of his palace. This outrage against the religious heart of Mesopotamia is likely to have ultimately cost Aššur-bāni-apli his rule. Aššur-bāni-apli maintained friendly relations with Urartu ; he later became friends with the Scythians as well . After an uprising, he brought manna back under Assyrian control. After the conquest of Elam, around 636 BC. The news about his reign breaks off.

The large library he set up has rendered inestimable service to modern Assyriology, as the discovery of this clay tablet library in Kujundschik, a part of ancient Nineveh , provided Assyriology with the basis for its further expansion.

In all the cities of Babylonia and Assyria, Aššur-bāni-apli has developed a rich building activity. The most important are the expansion of an old and the construction of a new palace in Nineveh. The Greeks, to whom he was known under the name Sardanapal, he was considered the archetype of a revelers, which corresponds little to the historical facts.


In 1997 the asteroid (7208) Ashurbanipal was named after him.

See also


  • Richard Anthony Parker , Waldo H. Dubberstein: Babylonian Chronology 626 BC - AD 75 . Brown University Press, Rhode Island 1956
  • Simo Parpola: Letters from Assyrian Scholars to the Kings Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal. Part 1: Texts . Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake 2007 (Reprint 1970), ISBN 978-1-57506-137-5
  • Maximilian Streck: Assurbanipal and the last Assyrian kings until the fall of Nineveh . Three parts, Leipzig 1916. Reprint Leipzig 1975
    • Part 1: Introduction: The documentary material, chronology and history
    • Part 2: Texts: The inscriptions of Ashurbanipal and the last Assyrian kings
    • Part 3: Register: glossary, list of proper names, final addenda and minor corrections

Web links

Commons : Assurbanipal  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. see dating according to the list of the Assyrian kings
  2. Simo Parpola: Letters from Assyrian Scholars to the Kings Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal . P. 449.
  3. Minor Planet Circ. 30800
predecessor Office successor
Assyrian king
669–631 / 627 BC Chr.
King of Babylonia
669–668 BC Chr.
Šamaš-šuma-ukin King of the Babylonian region of Nippur
647–631 / 627 BC Chr.