zaterdag 4 oktober 2014

Arwad non-interference

ARWAD’s policy of non-interference (734-669 BC).
 
The successor of Tiglat-pileser III was the Assyrian king Salmanassar V (726-722 BC), who has to deal with serious uprisings. Tyre resists desperately and is forced to endure a blockade of 5 years. Salmanassar confiscates ships of Arqa, Sidon and Ušu. This fleet of 60 ships with only a crew of 800 men under Assyrian command is however beaten by 12 war-ships of the Tyrians. This is what you can get when land-rats want to fight a sea-battle.
See: “Une bataille navale au VIIe siècle (Josephus, Ant.Iud.IX 14)“ in the journal Semitica 1976. Arwad and Gubal can keep out of this event. More close to their towns is an uprising of Simirra, but this town quickly annihilated by the forces of Salmanassar.
 
The next Assyrian despot is Sargon II (721-705 BC). He might have an expedition to Cyprus in 709 BC. If that is the case he must have made used the ships of Arwad (and Byblos and Sidon?). In ARA 117 he mentions amongst others Bit-Humria (Israel), the Iameneans (Ionians) out of the midst of the sea, Cilicia (Kue) and Tyre. Most of the inscriptions however deal with fighting on the border of Egypt far away from Arwad, where perhaps still Mattanbaal II tried to stay away from all the hostilities.
 
The next king of Arwad is Abd-li‘ti, who succeeds in maintaining this policy of non-interference. His name means “strong servant”. Abd-li‘ti is obliged to pay his tribute in c.700 BC to the Assyrian king Sennacherib (704-681 BC). ARA 239: the third campaign:
“ ....... From Minhimmu (Menahem), the Shamsimurunite, Tuba’lu, the Sidonite, Abd-li’ti, the Arwadite, Uru-milk, the Gublite, Mitinti, the Asdodite, Budu-ilu, the Beth-Ammonite, Kammusu-nadbi, the Moabite, Milik-rammu, the Edomite – kings of Amurru, all of them, lavish gifts, as their heavy tribute, they brought for me the fourth time, and kissed my feet… “
It is questionable, if Arwad is not involved in the sixth campaign of Sennacherib in c.694 BC (ARA 319):
Hittite people, plunder of my bow, I settled in Nineveh. Mighty ships (after) the workmanship of their land, they built dexterously. Tyrian, Sidonian and Cyprian sailors, captives of my hand, I ordered (to descend) the Tigris with them and come to land at (descend to) the wharves (?) at Opis………….
The ships of my warriors reached the swamps at the mouth of the river, where the Euphrates empties its waters into the fearful sea……..”
Under Hittite people we must read Syrian people. Probably the former dominion of Arwad has also to contribute to the Assyrian fleet going to the east, to the Persian sea.
 
The next Assyrian king Esarhaddon (681-669 BC) was busy with an uprising in Sidon and reorganisation of the Syrian coast. The region of Sidon becomes now also an Assyrian province (ARA 511+527). A few year later Tyre revolts, but when the support of Egypt was wiped away, Baal of Tyre made peace as soon as possible. Nowhere in the Assyrian records is Arwad any more mentioned in this period until Esarhaddon starts the restoration of the palace at Niniveh. The whole Levant has to contribute to the work and deliver materials for the palace. Then again Arwad is mentioned and we see another Mattanbaal (III) as king of the island (ARA 690).
 
ARA = Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia. Daniel David Luckenbill, Chicago.

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