Dominion of Arwad becomes a
Under the next Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (744-727 BC) the Phoenician towns will loose their independency. In the third year of his reign he made at first a campaign in the north (Melid, Gurgum, Kummuhu), but then he collects the tribute in Arpad in northern Syria of Hiram of Tyre (ARA 769). In a next campaign he went at first in the direction of
and after that to the
seacoast, where he mentions the towns of Ušnu, Siannu, Simirra and K/Rašpuna (ARA
770). He begins with the deportation of people from one town to another and
mostly from east to the west. ARA 772: Judah
“ …. in the cities ….. Simirra, Arka, Usnu, Siannu, which lie on the seacoast, I settled 588 Budeans, Duneans, Ni-…. 352 Bileans, 544 Banateans, 380 people of the city of
460 Sangilleans, …. etc, etc.” Nergal-ilu-ina-mati
Somewhat later is yet mentioned in ARA 801:
“Tribute of ….. Sibitti-bi‘il [of Gubla] …. Matan-bi’il of Arwad…” and others.
More serious and dangerous it becomes in a further inscription (ARA 815):
“ ….. Gubla, Simirra, Arqa, Zimirra …. The cities of Usnu, Sianu, R’a-raba, Ri’a-sisu … the cities of the upper sea, I brought under my sway. Six of my officials as governors I set over them. ---“
Under “the cities of the upper sea” are probable meant Marathos, Carnos, Enhydra and Antarados, as they were later called. Simirra becomes the capital of the new Assyrian province with a governor (Saknu). This is the final step in the annexation of the dominion of Arwad. It is a disaster for the isle of Arwad. Mattanbaal II managed to stay independent, but for the trade the town becomes very dependent on the Assyrian goodwill. This all happened in the period 741-734 BC. Not only Arwad looses his towns on the mainland, but there comes a new population from the eastern and southern regions. For much Phoenicians in the north of the
Levant this must have been
the signal to go to the colonies overseas.
The Assyrians install in the annexed cities a special site, which they call the “karu”. It is a territory of their own, where they have special trade-privileges. There is a letter of a governor of Simirra (Qurdi-Assur-Lamur) who installs such a “karu” in Kaašpuna and who sends an occupation-force to this town. He gives orders to restore all the damage that was done when the town was captured. Kaašpuna lies probably in the valley of the Eleutherus (nahr el-Kebir). Assyrian tax-officials are supervising all the trade, done by Arwad. It is for instance strictly forbidden to trade with
King Mattanbaal II of Arwad resigns himself in the inevitable. We don’t know the beginning nor the end of his reign. Is he family of Mattanbaal I? All questions we don’t know the answer.