Biblical Archeology Course 5, Lesson 2
Tiglath-Pileser III’s Inscriptions at Nimrud
Tiglath-Pileser III (Akkadian: Tukultī-Apil-Ešarra) was a prominent king of Assyria in the 8th century BC (ruled 745–727 BC) and is widely regarded as the founder of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. He is considered to be one of the most successful military commanders in world history, conquering most of the world known to the ancient Assyrians before his death.
Assyrian power in the Near East greatly increased as the result of Tiglath-Pileser’s military reforms (see "Reforms" below) and his campaigns of conquest. Upon ascending the throne, he claimed (in Annal 9, which dates to 745 BC, his first regnal year (accession year) to have annexed Babylonia, from "Dur-(Kuri)galzu, Sippar of Shamash, … the cities [of Ba]bylonia up to the Uqnu river [by the shore of the Lo]wer [Sea]" (which referred to the Persian Gulf), and subsequently placed his eunuch over them as governor. Also within the first of his regnal years, he defeated Urartu (in modern Armenia), whose hegemony under the rulership of Sarduri II had extended to northern Mesopotamia and Syria. He also defeated the Medes before proceeding against the Neo-Hittites, Syria and Phoenicia. He took Arpad in 740 BC after three years of siege, annexed it as a province (over which he placed one of his eunuchs as governors), and subjected Hamath to tribute. Assyrian inscriptions record, in the fifth year of his reign 740 BC, a victory over Azariah (Uzziah), king of Judah, whose achievements are described in 2 Chronicles 26. In 733 BC his armies conquered Philistia on the Mediterranean coast, destroyed Damascus (732) and occupied most of Israel (732), with its northern regions becoming Assyrian provinces. According to the royal inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser, many of the inhabitants were deported to other parts of the Assyrian empire, a practice that was commonly enacted by his predecessors.
In October 729 BC, Tiglath-Pileser assumed total control of Babylon, capturing the Babylonian king Nabu-mukin-zeri (ABC 1 Col.1:21) and having himself crowned as "King Pulu of Babylon".
Biblical records: Biblical records, corroborated by Assyrian ones, describe how Tiglath-Pileser III exacted 1000 talents of silver tribute from King Menahem of Israel (2 Kings 15:19) and defeated his successor Pekah (15:29). Pekah had allied with Rezin, king of the Arameans against Ahaz (known to the Assyrians as Yahu-khazi), king of Judah, who responded by appealing for the Assyrian monarch’s help with the Temple gold and silver. Tiglath-Pileser complied by seizing Damascus, executing Rezin, and deporting the Aramaean inhabitants to Kir (16:9). He also seized the northern half of Israel, and deported the Reubenites, Gadites, and Manasseh to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the Gozan river (1 Chron. 5:26). Despite the alliance, he apparently caused some trouble for Ahaz as well (2 Chron 28:20).
Tiglath-Pileser III’s conquests and reforms led to the establishment of the Neo-Assyrian Kingdom as a true empire. He built a royal palace in Nimrud (the so-called "central palace") later to be dismantled by Esarhaddon. On the sculptured slabs decorating his palace, across the bas-reliefs depicting his military achievements, he had engraved his royal annals.
On his death, he was succeeded by his son Ululayu, who took the name Shalmaneser V, who further campaigned in the Levant and captured Samaria. [GFDL Document and Copyright]