The Burning Cauldron: The Neo Assyrian Empire Defended

The Rebellion of Nabopolassar and the Early Reign of Sinsharishkun
This thread, is a minor tl, which could develop into a full-time creation, exploring the geopolitical schematics in a world wherein the Assyrian empire defeats the Medo-Babylonian alliance and contends itself with the changing situation in the Middle East. This is also a thought experiment regarding an evolution of Assyro-Akkadian political culture and world outlook. As an aside and disclaimer, my expertise is not within this period, but it is an area that I have great interest in and through writing am honing some of my skills. If there is holes in my reasoning or my positions are off when respective to Assyrian history, please call me out in the thread or send a dm and I will respond shortly. Thank you!

The Early Reign of Sinsharishkun

The reign of Sinshariskun began in late 627 or 626 BCE , after his brother Ashuretililani (627-627), the eldest of the children of Ahsurbanipal I (668-627), who succeeded his father was deposed and likely killed by the usurper general, Sinshumulishir who placed himself as king of Assyria. This civil war, was not unheard of in the records of Assyrian history, upon the death of Shalmaneser V (727-722), Sargon II was faced with a crippling situation in Assyria, with rebellions, usurpation and the loss of much of the empire conquered after years of war during the reign of Tiglath Pileser III (745-727). Yet, from the ashes, Assyria regained lands and during Sargon II, reached a pinnacle in sustainable power, which was extended by great kings such as Sennarcherib I (705-681) and Esarhaddon I (681-669). In the period of Ashurbanipal I, we find the empire gain immensely in fortune and power, including the conquest of Egypt, the silencing of Elam among other achievements, however, the latter period of Ashurbanipal I, was one wherein the power of Assyria experienced some contractions. The nature of this, is only partly known, but most prominently was the spectre of the Scythians which raided Assyria in the latter 630s.

Within this millieu, a difficult situation was left for Sinshariskun when his brother and thus his dynasty was ousted by the usurper Sinshumulishir in 627. This rebellion in Assyria proper pitted Sinshariskun, the true heir of Assyria against the usurper Sinshumulishir, the war for the throne of Assyria, would rage in the vicinity of Ninevah, Assur, Arrapakh, Nizu, Kalah, etc for the entirety of 627 and the very early section of 626. Ultimately, Sinsharishkun would defeat the usurper in 626, asserting for himself sole rulership over the throne of Assur. Despite the triumph in Ninevah, troubles were mounting and the fabric of the empire was ripping apart.

Babylonia, a present danger was always existing from this region, long held as a vassal and or dual possession of Assyria (the dual monarchy of Assyria-Babylonia) had rebelled several times in the recent 200 years. The most dangerous two being in the reign of Sargon III and under Ashurbanipal I, with both cases having to do with a Elamite support of a Chaldo-Babylonian ruler with ties of some sort of the Elamite crown (Hitalmti). Thus, in each case, it was the support of the Elamite rulers to a Chaldaen, an Aramaen group residing in ancient Sumer, ultimately against the interests of the Akkado-Babylonians whose support between Assyria and or Elam varied, but generally leaned toward the Assyrian hegemony, at least during the reign of Sargon II and in the reign of Ashurbanipal I. In the period of Sinsharishkun however, the situation is a bit different, in that the Chaldaens under a new leader of Nabopolassar, who it seems was self supported by his own Chaldaen connections and fair relations within the city of Babylon, weakness from Assyria may be the ultimate reason for the success of Nabopolasser in regards to rising without assistance from Elam as previous occasions. In 631, unlike in the regimes of Sargon II or Ashurbanipal I, the Assyrian heartland was threatened by the Scythians or Medes, while in times earlier, the main northern threat, Urartu (Biailini/Biai) was seemingly comepting for general regional supremacy over buffer regimes, instead of outright conquest of Assyria.

Regardless, in 627, Nabopolassar claims kingship over Babylon and in 625 despite being repulsed by the Assyrian garrison at Nippur, is able to take the city of Babylon, massacring the Assyrian soldiers stationed therein. Whilst this is occurring, while Sinshariskun has killed Sinshumulishir, persistent strife remained in Assyria proper, and Median, Cimmerian and Scythian strikes upon Mannaea and Syria remove much of the Assyrian ability to rapidly deal with the claimant in 626. Assyrian field armies however existed in Babylonia, defending Nippur, varied fortresses and travelling the region attempting to dethrone the claimant Nabopolassar.

In 625 however, after Nabopolassar captures Bablyon, the situation in Assyria calms and Sinsharishkun defeats all remaining threats to his claim form the former usurpers old supporters. 625, the Assyrian dominion faces the ongoing war in Babylonia and invasions from the north and east; despite this, we find Assyria (otl) facing down this threat with phenomenal staying power and at many times is holding the initiative, this being a sign of the efficiency of the Assyrian military and also the skill of Sinsharishkun.

A survey of the region in 625 and the pace of the wars may thus be efficient:

Assyria currently holds its Assyrian holdings more or less intact after the crushing of Sinshumulishir, the prestige defensive points of Nippur, Ur, Sippar, Arrapakha and Opis,, Syria, Palestine and its vassal of Egypt.

Babylon meanwhile, in 625, has control over Babylon, the southern sector of Babylonia (including Uruk) aside from Ur, Borsippa, Kish and much of the areas to the south near the deserts of Arabia are its partisans, both Arab/Qedar and Chaldaen. Babylonian goals and necessary achievements to gain victory are ultimately three, the first is capture of Sippar and Nippur, the second is capture of Arrapakha and after those two are completed, seek an existing ally against the Assyrians in Media, Scythia or Urartu.

Nearby in the north of Assyria; Media, Scythia, Cimmeria, Urartu and Lydia exist. All excluding Lydia, are hostile to the interests of Assyria, Sythia in 625 for instance, though at poor terms with Cimmerians and Medians, are continually attacking Syria and inflicting wounds upon Assyria and most heavily, to Urartu. Scythian demands are likely the acquisition of loot and plunder, while its similar neighbor nomads, the Cimmerians are causing equal havoc in Anatolia and western Syria and seem more interested in the ultimate establishment of a powerbase in Anatolia. Median interests holdings are the most presently endangering the Assyrian position; at 625, Media has conquered or subjugated Mannaea and forced the Scythians out of the region south of the Zagros mountains, their raids further extend into Urartu, Assyria and Elam. The Median king, Cyaxeres is further a capable monarch and military commander. Urartu by contrast to the others mentioned, may simply be attempting to survive the chaos and conflagration. Long bested by Assyria in the reign of Sargon II, Urartu has suffered enormously upon the invasion of the Cimmerians and Scythians and similar to Elam, are likely already being rapidly replaced in their townships by Indo-European Armenians and Medians.

With all of these interests and holdings in mind, we move to the year 624
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The First Battle of Uruk

As was stated earlier, Babylonian interests lie in taking Ur, but also in holding what it currently possesses, especially those areas that ensure that the Assyrians cannot launch a frontal assault upon Babylon. Knowing this, in 624, Sinsharishkun sends his army toward Uruk and in 624, the Assyrian army arrives at the city and in unison, the populace not loyal to Nabopolassar rebels and gifts the city to the Assyrian army, meanwhile, a Babylonian force arrives near the city and threatens a counter attack. In response, the two days later, the Assyrian force sallies forth under a general named Ashurakhinimbha and defeats the Babylonian army in a decisive setting. With this major victory, the roads to Babylon lay open.

Sinsharishkun through the rest of 624, prepares an army to ride southward to Babylon and destroy the rebellion; however, to do so, shrewd diplomacy is required. In the times of Sargon II, the Assyrian state surrendered lands to Elam and Babylon, in order to deal with the rebellion of Yahu-Bidhi (king of Hamath, 720-719-18?) and allied Syrian states, Israel and the encroaching Egyptians, which was crushed and checked, before Assyria could turn its attention toward Babylonia and Elam once more. Once more, Assyria will embark upon this strategy of 'one war at a time'. In the middle of 624, Sinsharishkun concludes a deal with Cyarexes which amounts to tribute gifted by Assyria to Media and surrender of Mannaea to the Medes and an agreement with Media to combat Scythian raids (a note, it is not necessary to have Media be stayed by a treaty, but it is a fair option in my view, and is known occurrence in Assyrian history in times of strife).

Median ascent to the treaty is temporary, the view of Cyarexes is that, if Nabopolassar defeats Sinsharishkun, there is no binding with which Media should continue to stay her armies from invading Assyria. However, should Sinsharishkun gain victory, the peace with Assyria could allow Media the time to consolidate itself to the ever present Scythian nemesis and also move southward, conquer Elam and Anshan-Persia, as well as possibly subjugate Urartu.

In Chaldo-Babylonian terms, this was the worst outcome possible. Thus, Nabopolassar tries once more in late 624 whilst Sinsharishkun is preparing his forces, to retake Uruk. Thus, the second battle of Uruk erupts beneath the walls in the plains near Uruk, between Nabopolassar and Ashurrakhinimbha. The Babylonian force, composed of Chaldaens, Arabs from Qedaria, Philistine and Jewish mercenaries and a large contingent of Akkado-Babylonians; meanwhile their enemy is the Assyrian garrison force, made up of Assyrian professional warriors station in Sumer, Gurreans and Ituu archers/light infantry. In this eventful day, the fate of a hopeful empire is placed against the old yet ever young empire of Assyria and in the mayhem and carnage of a strike of cavalry/chariots and the hail of Ituean arrows, the Chaldo-Babylonian army is routed decisively.

Following this monumental defeat, Nabopolassar travels north in an attempt to ensure no rebellion overthrows his early rule and to prepare to raise more troops and mercenary to possibly harass existing Assyrian strongholds in Nippur and consolidate for the very near invasion from Assyria. At the beginning of the year of 623, Sinsharishkun has gathered an army and set his existing field armies and garrisons in Babylonia on alert, as he prepares to move southward to end this blasphemous claimants pretension to kingship.

Thus we end this start here, I hope to hear some feedback and if you are interested at all or some advice. Thank you, I will give the next update soon, which will be titled, "The Fated Campaign".
 
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As a disclaimer, I will place year names in the Assyrian convention, but for this first post, I chose not to as it is unfamiliar. Here though, I would like feedback, would from now on, you like only Assyrian calendar times or supplemented with the Gregorian years? Assyrian Calendar is reasoned through the founding of Assur, thus the years mentioned so far are as follows:

627 BCE = 4124 AY
626 BCE = 4125 AY
625 BCE = 4126 AY
624 BCE = 4127 AY
 
Looks really interesting! I now very little about the time period but I'll be following.

With regards to the calendar issue, I'd say it would be best to put Gregorian years in brackets following the Assyrian Years, in this kind of format:

"In 4128 AY (623 BCE), the..."
 
A really cool premise for a TL. Always good to see credit given to Sinsharikun after Ashurbanipal's broken last few years.
Yes, the conception being woven, is that Sinsharishkun was not an incompetent ruler as some lay thinkers claim. Rather, the Assyrian system and Sinsharishkun showed extreme resilience in the final years and if one researches the sources and chronology of the war; even without a treaty with the Medes, Assyria was on the verge of dismantling Babylonia in 623 BCE. However, another rebellion in 623 and several inauspicious events, such as cooling of relations between Media and its adversaries (possibly all saw that after the failed invasion of Babylon, Assyria could be overwhelmed), led to Sinsharishkun's loss after a 7 year war fought in the Assyrian heartland north of Arrapakha (fell in 619). This sort of event could have occurred during the reign of Sargon II and Ashurbanipal was verging upon collapse in the edge of his reign. In some respects, we may say, Ashurbanipal caused the collapse at least partly, while Sinsharishkun rallied efforts in Assyria and calmed the strife for a time to at least engage and nearly defeat Media, Scythia, Cimmeria, Urartu, Persia, and the Chaldo-Babylonians.
 
Watched. I'm very interested to see how the Medians turn out. I assume that this resurgent Assyria will be able to keep them east of the Tigris from this point onward, but then what future awaits them? The knock-on effects (or lack thereof) of an empire of the Parsai never developing could make India and Greece unrecognizable...

Seems to me that Assyria still has much reason to worry about the Egyptians. Is Nabopolassar's defeat really enough to dissuade Necho II from his dreams of conquest?
 
Watched. I'm very interested to see how the Medians turn out. I assume that this resurgent Assyria will be able to keep them east of the Tigris from this point onward, but then what future awaits them? The knock-on effects (or lack thereof) of an empire of the Parsai never developing could make India and Greece unrecognizable...

Seems to me that Assyria still has much reason to worry about the Egyptians. Is Nabopolassar's defeat really enough to dissuade Necho II from his dreams of conquest?
Frankly, aside from the most immediate issues in Assyria and how I wish to see Assyria develop, some areas I’m not decided upon. Once this tl expands a bit, or even now, I will seek advice regarding areas such as Hindustan, Greece, etc...
 
The Fated Campaign
"A bidding of poor omens is due for the usurper and claimant. Assur is King of all and Assur sits upon a single throne and bestows the Lordship upon His Seat alone. Camp Followers and mangy dogs are not due to treat with His majesty, rather their place is to serve and in rebellion, destruction." -The Kalhu Codex (this will become a large bureaucratic repository of Assyrian propaganda and ideology)


After the resounding victories in the first and second battles of Uruk (4127 AY/624 BCE), Sinsharishkun's position was one of great standing and with the newly formed detente with Media, his attention could be turned to Babylonia, wherein the claimant Nabopolassar, was in rebellion. In 4128 thus, Sinsharishkun led his army in a campaign to crush Nabopolassar. However, in the period wherein Sinsharishkun had began to lead his campaign and the resounding victories made against his political foes who had attempted to usurp the throne of Assur, a trend was beginning in Assyria at the initiative of Sinsharishkun, to further legitimize himself, a certain combination of courtly and bureaucratic offices were becoming more important and the alliance with certain factions had been given the initiative in this early reign of Sinsharishkun.

Some of these reforms came in how Sinsharishkun in the manner similar to earlier rulers, began to give an era name and honorary name toward certain events and actions made by his Lordship. The first example of this was, in 4127, Sinsharishkun named gave a proclamation in the city of Assur, which would become a hallmark for later Assyrian leaders, that being an era name and a name based upon actions made. This first period/era name, was given, "Assur destroys an usurper". The intention behind the new era naming convention, we may say is found in asserting a ruler's power by way of creating titles and taking names that could boost existing legitimacy and lessen the possibility of usurpation by others. As, once a ruler has been proclaimed a title by right of Assur, their power becomes more defensible and the tenability of their usurpers less possible. As well as this benefit, this empowered certain bureaucratic factions within the empire, such as the cupbearer and the chamberlain. In fact, the chamberlain and cupbearer appointed in the reign of Sinsharishkun in the year 4125 were the following, Ipqu-aya as chamberlain and Manuiqapu as cupbearer, both of whom would be major figures in the reign of Sinsharishkun and would be granted the traditional privileges of overseeing Assyria whilst the emperor moves on campaign.

Ipqu-Aya himself represented a faction within the Assyrian realm focused upon the assurance of monarchical power, and the power of Assur (his living manifestation in the personage of Sinsharishkun) as supreme in the affairs of the state, including when paired against the rights and privileges of the Assyrian nobility. Thus, his advocated policies were the centralization of authority, expansion of the provincial power of Assyria, continued enforcement of the practice of deportation, more uses for male eunuchs, staunch militaristic stance and a union between the throne of Assur with all facets of the imperial society. In contrast, a slightly different perspective would be taken by the cupbearer, Manuiqapu, who advocated a concept referred to as the harmonious hierarchy of Assur, wherein Assur distributed his power unto the rest of his subjects and ruled through the proxy of a primordial hierarchy, whose foremost beneficiaries were that of the nobility. Thus, it was a call to a certain level of decentralized rule, but also a restatement of much of the older Assyrian system, yet with more strict opinions and statements regarding the nobility. Ipqu-Aya and Manuiqapu however both agreed, as did their factions, in the loyalty toward the current occupant of Assur (Sinsharishkun) and a preference for total Assyrian domination and expansion of the imperialistic vision wherein Sinsharishkun and all holders of the throne of Assur, were not only Lords of Assyria, but rulers of the universe expanse. Both would work their utmost to ensure the fulfillment of the new era name.

Sinsharishkun further in this early period, affirmed the tradition of distributing positions and authorities to the nobles of the 'Great Ones', the ancient households of Assyria which were given reserved for them, 120 government positions that were not held by eunuchs. The most important of these was the cupbearer (Manuiqapu) and qepu officials which were regional representatives, who acted as eyes and ears of Assur in his provinces and vassal lands. In 4128, Sinsharishkun has yet to fully place among his provinces and vassals all the necessary qepu and most prominent of these, Egypt under Psamtik I, is currently unattended.

4128 (623 BCE) The campaign begins

Meeting at the city of Kalhu as was customary, the armies of Assyria not already placed in the provinces as garrisons, have gathered. As part of the ritual, a delegation of priests march across the city with effigies and idols made of varying materials as well as prisoners from Chaldaea. After marching through the city in celebration from the crowd, the priests place the idols in front of the monarch of Assur, and with a loud voice proclaims:

"A signal from the Gods; auspicious is the fated campaign and most accursed is the false claimant"

An idol is stationed high, made of wood and hay, with a stone tablet attached with the Akkadian phrase, 'accursed claimant' and in a hurry of pomp, the soldiers begin shouting in unison and suddenly from the east (symbolizing the rising sun) a warrior mounted upon a horse fires an arrow into the fetish of Nabopolassar, signifying the defeat of his claim. Afterwards, other effigies representing Chaldo-Babylonian soldiers are set ablaze in addition to the effigy of their ruler. And in the pomp after the decimation of their enemy's claim, the emperor takes the seat within his chariot and Sinsharsihkun rides west from the city Kalhu in glory as the god Assur with the effigy of Nabopolassar tied firmly to the back end of the chariot. With a cry, the soldiers prepare for the meal and then the march toward Babylon.

The army marches southward past Arrapakha, the army of Assyria numbering approximately 20,000 (Sargon II commanded an army of around 50,000 across the entire empire and Ashurbanipal perhaps 60,000 across the empire), news begins to reach Sinsharishkun, that the armies of Nabpolassar had besieged Nippur and also harassed the field armies near Uruk. As well, Qedarites, Arabs and other Aramaen groups had amassed in support of Nabopolassar. In conjugation with this, Sinsharishkun sent in head of his army, spies and qepu to find allies among the existing Akkado-Babylonian populace, which had less loyalty to Nabpoloassar than Nabopolassar's primary supporters from Chaldaea, Arabia and the deportee populaces. Nabopolassar's position was extremely weak after his second loss at Uruk and the fate of his power hung in the balance as the Assyrian army approached from the north. To ensure loyalty of his subjects, Nabopolassar promised heavy amounts of privileges to the Babylonian nobility and merchant classes, including significant autonomy within the kingdom and land grants. However, the loyalty of the Babylonians could not rely simply upon benefits of money and status, but upon reasonabel chances of victory. To keep the dreams of Nabopolassar alive, he must take Nippur, even if Uruk remains in the hands of Assyria, for if Nippur falls, then the ability for Sinsharishkun to take Babylon is both lessened and the authority of Nabpolassar is protected in the minds of his vast number of Akkadian detractors, who see this entire endeavor as dangerous to the status of Babylon. Ultimately, the Akkadian subjects favored more the peace brought by Assyrian domination, whilst the deportee peoples, Chaldaens and other non Akkadian Semites, chaffed under Assyrian imperialism and longed to destroy her and establish for themselves their own empire.

Despite this difference in ethnicity and status between the constituent powers, the Akkadian populace of Babylonia, was not necessarily outright hostile to Nabopolassar, rather more concerned witht he outcomes. If Nabopolassar really could do what he wished and form a Babylonian dominated empire, wherein Marduk was supreme, then the support they would freely give. However, should this contest between Chaldo-Babylonians and Assyria lead to a divided status wherein the two empires fight for generations and decimate each other further, then the Babylonians of Akkadian extract would certainly prefer Assyrian domination, with continued stability. In 4128 (623 BCE), the Babylonian populace visualizes the situation more along the lines of the latter, that Nabopolassar will either be defeated rapidly by Sinsharishkun or if with their support, wins, will lead Babylon into a dark period of strife.

Nabpolassar's siege of Nippur however comes to naught despite minor Babylonian assistance and the situation seems dire. Nabpolassar decides in the middle section of 4128, to march north and meet Sinsharishkun in a decisive battle, with expectations to meet Sinsharishkun before he reached Sippar, with knowledge that the Assyrian army planned to divide its forces to begin besieging and looting areas of importance. Against the expectations of Nabopolassar, the Assyrian army did not divide itself in any meaningful way and for the purposes of this campaign, that being made in the era name, the destruction of the claimants (thus Babylon is not an enemy state, but an area beset by a dangerous outlaw claiming kingship) and not of attaining plunder. Nabpolassar thus was informed of the situation transpiring and with his army of 11,000 fled southward to return to Babylon and rally more troops. In Babylon news had reached the city and its officials, of overwhelming Akkadian origin, of the arrival of Sinsharishkun at Sippar. Assyrian spies had entered the city of Babylon as Akkadian merchants and varied deportees loyal to the crown of Assur. These spies distributed information to the city officials of Akkadian origin that both Nabpolassar had failed to take Nippur, Uruk and soon Sinsharishkun will be below Babylon with a host of warriors whose bodies are that of bronze and faces of gold and swords covered with flames. These spies also compounded this with official seals bearing the throne of Assur, giving assurances of fair conduct should Babylon defect. All of these points made by the spies sent into Babylon, were increased when news reached the city that seemingly Nabopolassar had fled from Sinsharishkun at Sippar and perhaps had even been defeated.

Beginning around 19:40 in late 4128, stirrings in Babylon began, when riots erupted, started by the combined efforts of the Babylonian nobility and merchants, attacked Chaldaen garrisons within the city. The privileges Nabopolassar had granted the Akkadian leaders of the city would come to be his undoing, when they having been gifted the rights to lead the troops in the city and administer activities, had the ability to destroy his garrison. Thus, int he battle of Babylon (4128), the garrison of Chaldo-Babylonians attempted to defend themselves against the rebelling city around them. Setting themselves as defensive in a Aramaen quarter of the city, they held out for several hours, before the locals in the district began to support the Babylonian rebels and the garrison surrendered the around 9:12 the next day. Soon afterwards, the qepu sent to infiltrate Babylon, appeared bearing the regalia of his post and carrying the seal of Assur, proclaimed the city restored to its rightful ruler and invoked the god Marduk as protector of Sinsharishkun who soon would ride with the glory into the city with the head of Nabopolassar. The qepu also informed the city of the current era name, "Assur destroy an usurper" however, with orders from the court, he instead says clearly, "Marduk destroys an usurper". The qepu of Babylon, Enusat, is made the regent of Babylon for the short time and instructs the city to prepare to defend itself.

Arriving shortly after these events, Nabpolassar arrives in the vicinity of Babylon to the fleeing of troops and skirmishes across the canals nearby. Joining in the conflict, Nabpolassar becomes horrifed when the skirmishes are not between the Babylonians and an Assyrian force from the south, but Babylonians attempting to expunge the area of remaining Nabopolassarite troops. His army springs into action, Chaldaen veterans cut down the Babylonian soldiers across the canals and fields, routing several hundred who flee to the south or toward the city gates. Nabpolassar arrives at the gates of the city in fury at this betrayal, which have already closed to his army. A messenger from the city delivers the message:

"To the usurper, the camp follower Nabopolassar,

Curses unto you and your seed for claiming the thrones of your betters and denying the affirmations of Marduk and the Fate of Heaven. How vain of a servant to rebel against his God and how foolish and trifled is his life. Surrender to your master, your gods cannot rescue you, nor can your supporters. Everyone with you will be killed and eradicated."

In response, Nabopolassar flees to the immediate west south of Sippar to control the flow of information regarding the defection of Babylon and prepares for his eventful strike against Sinsharishkun, currently besieging Sippar. However, the word in his own army erupts into a frenzy of disloyalty and his army faces massive amounts of desertion. To make matters worse, Assyrian cavalry and Itu archers appear each night to skirmish the army of Nabopolassar.

4129 (622)

After many months on campaign, Sinsharishkun is nearing the victory he wished. In the second month of 4129, the skirmishes directed at the Chaldaen army, are able with mass desertions, to crush the enemy with in a battle south of Sippar, between 3,000 Assyrians and 8,000 Chaldaens, the outcome, a total Assyrian victory and arriving after a day, the head of Nabopolassar. Nabopolassar having killed himself when his line collapsed against the fearsome Assyrian lancers and Assyrian horse archers. An outstanding victory here, Sippar surrenders and Sinsharishkun tasks his field marshal Akubulabash to pursue any remaining rebels and destroy any remaining strongholds, while he himself heads to Babylon to receive the crown of Babylon.

With Babylon reconquered, and Nabopolassar dead, Sinsharishkun is crowned and accepted as lord of Babylon and regent of Marduk. This victory though, is transient, while leaving his field marshal Akubulabash in the region to pursue remnants and with his seal granting him permission to destroy the Qedarites and Arab tribes south and west of Babylonia and his qepu to Babylon, Enusat to oversee Babylonian politics, Sinsharishkun travels north with his army back to Kalhu to proceed to address the issues relating to the rest of the empire.

Thus begins the year 4130 (621) and the end of our update. Tell me if this is good or if you have any other advice. This is a very haphazard timeline, but I hope it can amount to an interesting section for the forum.

To be clear also, the current era is:

Era name: "Assur destroys an usurper"// "Marduk destroys an usurper" began in year 4126-?
Emperor: Sinsharishkun 4124-?, heir of Assur, regent of Marduk, King of the Universe
 
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Good update. I wonder whether Ipqu-aya or Maniuqapu will be more influential during the upcoming process of consolidation.

Who exactly were the Qedarites, though? Are they synonymous with these ancient Arabs, or do they just share a similar lifestyle and location? How are each related to contemporaries like the Chaldeans or successors like the Nabataeans? And would any of these groups be considered part of/outside of the Biblical "Ishmaelite" grouping?
 
Good update. I wonder whether Ipqu-aya or Maniuqapu will be more influential during the upcoming process of consolidation.

Who exactly were the Qedarites, though? Are they synonymous with these ancient Arabs, or do they just share a similar lifestyle and location? How are each related to contemporaries like the Chaldeans or successors like the Nabataeans? And would any of these groups be considered part of/outside of the Biblical "Ishmaelite" grouping?
From what I gather, the Qedarites were a powerful northern Arabian federation that was very early in its development. Though they are not synonymous with Arabs as a whole, but only synonymous with their distinct polities. In the primary sources, we find terms for Qedar and for Arab, thus there is some distinction. For the case of this tl, we assume that the Qedar were Arabs, but the usage of Qedar was a reference to their political situation, instead of their ethnicity. The Qedar present themselves along the lines of a Ghassanid like entity in the sides of Assyria.

The Chaldaens in opposition to Qedar and Nabataeans, were Aramaen peoples from the Levant. They had migrated into the region following the Bronze Age Collapse and others deported there by Assyria, formed part of their ethnic fabric. Generally strong in the southern edges of Babylonia, especially Sumer, they are similar to a Lakhmid like 5th column within Babylon that is spread more within Sumer than otl Lakhmid Power spread across the Euphrates.

As we see it further, Nabataea is distinct as a polity from Qedar, but are both what we may call Arab in a loose sense. Meanwhile, Chaldaens, are non Arab, but culturally aligned with the Arabs and by proximity friendly to both Arabs and Elam.
 
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I was actually just about to write my first TL about Sinsharishkun, not even kidding. Guess I'll have to find another topic...
 
Really? I’m sorry that I have stolen this opportunity for you. If you would like, I would be happy to hear your ideas or advice through dm.
No, it’s totally fine. I already have another good idea for a TL and I have a good plan of where its story is going to go. But it’s nice to see someone finally looking into this rather obscure historical figure who could’ve changed the course of human history had he been successful. Anyway, I’d love to talk about ideas for the direction of the timeline, I have an appreciation for the Ancient Middle East.
 
Why? I don't think there are any rules saying you can't use a topic someone else is using.
Yeah but it’s just such an obscure topic to write a TL on that since this was only published a few days ago it would seem that I was copying him. Nonetheless I have a good original idea of my own to write a TL about at some point, probably in the summer.
 
Setting the Stage
Era: "Assur Destroys an Usurper" 4126-?
Monarch: Sinsharishkun, Lord Assur, Regent of Marduk, King of the Universe. 4124-?

4130 (621 BCE)

Having decimated Nabopolasser, and leaving his field marshal Akubalash to oversee the situation in the region of Sumer and the deserts across the Euphrates, and Enusat to manage Babylon (the qepu in Babylon), Sinsharishkun had moved back to Kalhu to oversee issues in the north and begin a period of reorganization within the empire. By 4130, Assyria maintained most of its imperial possessions, however the situation in 4130 was quite complex and not easily glossed over. Sinsharishkun's reasoning for returning to Kalhu, was both to reward his army for the conquest and meet with his trusted court and focus upon the state of the empire, which very nearly collapsed and still is in a precarious position. Most precarious was the position to the east, though Sinsharsihkun had gained a temporary respite with Media, this cannot stand, as Mannaea is of utter importance to Assyrian domination in the region, especially the availability of horse drawn from this region; still too, the proximity of Ninevah to Mannaea, made Media domination of the region impossible in the future, should Assyria seek to remain a powerful entity. As well, polities of the Tabal region, Quwe (Cilicia) and sections of Syria north of Hamath, are under the occupation of the Scythians and Cimmerians or otherwise lawless. Levantine holdings however, remain tranquil in comparison, and the vassal state of Egypt under Psamtik I, has not shown an inclination of enmity toward Sinsharishkun. To this point, we reach a discussion among the Assyrian elites regarding the situation of the reorganization of the empire and the course of action moving forward.

The most important officials in the Assyrian empire of non military connection were that of the chamberlain, palace herald and cupbearer. Overseeing the day-today governing in Ninevah and the palace inquiries that were beneath the direct attention of the most esteemed Assur (the monarch) was the chamberlain. He in effect, was governor, but also someone who saw to the execution of domestic policies at the behest of the monarch. This position in the year 4130 was held by Ipqu-Aya. Palace herald by contrast, saw to the affairs of information, from the surrounding qepu (eyes and ears of the Assyrian monarch in the provinces and his subordinate states) and also governed the region of Assyria north of Ninevah. This position n 4130 was held by Asnapar. Cupbearer, was the title that dealt with daily rituals and the regalia of the emperor, was also a position of extreme importance in regards to relation of the monarch to his throne and other similar items. This position was held by Maniuqapu. The other titles and those listed currently can be summarized as follows:

Chamberlain: Ipqu-Aya: oversaw day-today governance in place of the monarch when necessary. (also the viceroy of Ninevah in absence of monarch)
Palace Herald: Asnapar: oversaw information from qepu, managing qepu, aligning the qepu to the Assyrian war machine. (viceroy of Sibaniba and Dur-Sarrukin with 10 km of each other)
Cupbearer: Maniuqapu: oversaw palace ritual, custom, doctrines, etc... (viceroy of Assur in absence of the monarch)
Sukkalu: Enusat: the qepu/viceroy for the monarch in Babylon (obviously viceroy of Babylon, treated as an Assyrian city)
Treasurer: Eritak: oversaw the affairs of the Assyrian finances (no viceroyalty)
Head Eunuch: Izdubar: was the personal assistant of the monarch and had roles often encompassing all previous to a minor degree. (no viceroyalty)
Head Scribe: Daggan-Tagil: oversaw the keepign of records and the recording of information given to him by the palace herald, as well as the palace libraries. (no viceroyalty)
Field Marshal: Akulabash: head commander of the military in the absence of the monarch, almost always a eunuch or the crown prince. (viceroy of Kalhu in absence of monarch)

Each of these positions affirmed a position of high importance and made up the general court of the Assyrian empire by 4130, and all would be present in Kalhu to discuss the ongoing situation of the empire aside from Enusat and Akubalash. This meeting would begin with the meeting being announced by the Cupbearer, head of all rituals and procedures. As the Cupbearer announced the meeting and called the court into session, the monarch, Sinsharishkun seated upon the throne set for him in the palace of Kalhu began by listing off obvious grievances occurring int he empire, despite his successes as of recent. The need for some sort of change had been discussed prior to 4128 (623 BCE), especially from Ipsu-Aya and his opinions related to a centralized empire, wherein all were subject to Assur directly and the cupbearer, Maniuqapu, who favored the traditions of delegation to be increased and maximized to its fullest extent, to where the empire was nobility ruling on behalf of Assur.

This opposite viewpoints in some instances could lead to conflict and under a different ruler, very much would. However, ever seeking to find compromise between his loyal court, Sinsharishkun found a compromise in the meeting between the thinkers and decided to implement sections of both as his official policy and policy from henceforth under the reign of Assur. This was a compromise between what may be simplified as a noble ruled empire and one of total centralism under the monarchical power.

The list of reforms that were agreed upon and to be implemented were as follows and will set the precedent for the empire going forward:

1. The current court structure would remain as is. Viceroyalties among the Assyrian cities would still be conferred upon the 7 high courtly positions, those mentioned earlier. This is a protection of the traditional mode of administrating the region of Assyria and the city of Babylon. This was important to maintain the tradition so that the nobility would not claim that the monarch is someone who breaches the wisdom of how the gods formatted the land and state.

2. The land allotments of the nobility were to be gifted only by the monarch and could not be gained otherwise. In Assyria proper or Babylonia, the noble houses may attain land through means other than through conferment by the monarch, but outside of Assyria-Babylonia, only the monarch may grant titles and lands, and inheritance is only within that family. If a family loses claims on a particular land, this is not inherited by another family, but inherited by the monarch and distributed or held as he wishes. -note, this allows the Assyrian monarch to continue his long held policy, that is if one was to look at a map of Assyrian noble holdings, it would look like a jumbled mess of 120 houses, all with non connected lands and none with large chunks. This was due to the Assyrian monarch distributing the land in such a way that it would never be the source of large scale noble rebellion.

3. Expansion of palace eunuchs and monarchical assistants/attendants. (supported by the head eunuch and Ipqu-Aya, head chamberlain)

4. Affirmation of the noble household positions of Turpans. That is, the nobility will be allowed to assume a role as general (turpan) by right of privilege, aside from the position of field marshal, which was asserted as a right of appointment of the monarch.

5. Creation of a new diplomatic titles and positions to be used in Assyrian courts and how provinces were to be administered. These include the following new titles and positions for foreign countries and internal politics.

-Assyria proper: governed as was earlier described by the 120 families, the courtly officials and the monarch.

-Babylonia: this area, being treated as co-equal to Assyria, ruled under the pretext of the Sekkulu and ultimately held in a scenario akin to a dual-monarchy. This also affirms the rights of the nobles of Babylon.

-Provinces: These are areas ruled directly by the monarch and are appointed qepu to rule them as governors.

-Viceroys: Areas where the ruler was appointed directly by the monarch to rule an area as an appendage of the empire. This was a precedent set by Sargon II, when he placed eunuchs as rulers of areas such as Tabal and Quwe. This also can be a military commander who is gifted control over a region on behalf of the empire to be used for any number of reasons.

-Vassals: These are areas ruled by non Assyrian rulers who are direct subjects to the monarch. So, not fully a province, yet a state with its own local king or chief or ruling government, that is inherited in their local fashion, but still a subordinate territory of Assyria. A qepu is always present in their court, with roles that the monarch deems fit.

-Tributaries: States that are not subjugated in the way of a vassal where, the monarch is their legitimate master, but are states that pay tribute to the empire and depend upon their protection. They are gifted a qepu to both keep watch and offer the benefits of Assyria.

As for who fits within these categories, the Assyrian court decides the following standard:

Vassals:

Gambulu: a powerful Aramaen tribe on the border with Elam.
Tyre: Phoenician city state
Biblos: Phoenician city state
Judah: small state with Jerusalem as capital in the Levant
Moab: small state in the Jordan river valley
Edom: small tribal state south of Judah
Sidon: Phoenician city state
Simirra: Phoenician city state
Baalbek: Phoenician cult centre and city
Sarepta: Phoenician city state
Musasir: Urartian cult city, cult centre of the god Haldi, the chief deity of Urartu
Egypt: ruled by the pharaoh and ruling across the Nile Delta

Tributaries:

Nabataea
Qedar

Viceroys (proposed, new title):

Tabal
Mannaea
Qedar
Media
Elam
Urartu
etc...

6. The creation of a two new high court titles and positions, without land grants.

-Mercantile Overseer: Oversees the enforcement of trade regulations, tariffs and advises the monarch on the situations existing for trade. Instructed to send qepu on trade missions for the sake of espionage.
-Deportee Administer: Oversees the policies of deportation and focuses on the enforcement of rulings and management of the population that are deported to Assyria, Babylon or other provinces.

7. The refinement of era naming. Wherein an era name can only be decided by the monarch and upon a new era the herald of the palace is responsible for the dissemination of the information regarding the change, which must be strictly followed. Era names may be changed according to the whims of the monarch at any time. *any reference in an era name with the god Assur attached, when distributed in Babylon, the name Assur will be replaced with Marduk.

8. The expansion of the number of budgeted scribes. The head scribe and his office, will be in charge of the Kalhu Codex, a document kept in Kalhu used to record all information of import, especially those pertaining to meetings such as these. Including this, the head scribe will now be stationed at Kalhu and oversee the codex there.

At the end of the meeting which lasted several days, Sinsharishkun proclaimed a new era: "Assur provides Restoration"/Marduk provides Restoration"

Era Names:

"Assur destroys an usurper"/ "Marduk destroys an usurper" 4126-4130
"Assur provides Restoration"/Marduk provides Restoration" 4130-?

Hope that this is a fair update, next update will cover more war, geopolitics and such.
 
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The Southern Protectorate/The Southern War
4130

Despite the remnant aspirations of the Chaldaeans (who propped up the rebellion of Nabopolasser destroyed in the year 4129/622 BCE), there by the year 4130 (621 BCE) were no real military threats to Sinsharishkun or his Sukkalu (viceroy of Babylon) Enusat. Yet, there was direct orders from Sinsharishkun in 4130, a plan for the next 2 years in the region, that would correspond to the new era ("Assur provides Restoration/Marduk provides Restoration") that were to be levied unto Akulabash the field marshal currently stationed in Borsippa with an army of roughly 10,000 men and to the Sukkalu, Enusat. These plans were orders and objectives in accordance with the new era name and with the evolving political situation of the empire. Both Enusat and Akulabash possessed the seal of Assur/Marduk and could invoke the imperial authority in issues that required such. An additional set of orders were gifted unto Ashurrakinimba, an Assyrian tartan (general) currently stationed in Uruk, this included the imperial seal gifting toward Ashurrakinimba to act upon his new objectives. The objectives and rulings given by Sinsharishkun or their instructions were to become a hallmark of the reign of Sinsharishkun as time pushes forward, namely a relative freedom of action gifted to the servants of the empire through the imperial seal, but a setting of an objective for each position. These instructions were primarily with the following goals, the subjugation of remaining resistances if there exists any and the subjugation of Arabo-Chaldaean tribes to the south of the Euphrates and the decimation of Qedar.

Akulabash was instructed to in accordance with the new system of states subjugated under the Assyrian system within the Kalhu conference, to invade to the south and acquire from either total submission from the Qedar and their Arabo-Aramaen affiliates or conquer these areas and form a new state in the region, which would be referred to as the 'Southern Protectorate'. Included within this proposition was extending a diplomatic envoy to the Nabtu (Nabataens)offering tributary status to the the tribes therein. Enusat and Ashurrakinimba in counter, were prompted to maintain order within Babylonia. Ashurrakinimba himself would however with a force of 2,000, would march to Gambulu (on border of Elam and Babylonia) and inform the tribal entities therein of their new status as vassals of Assyria, for their loyalty to the empire and also to serve as a buffer between Babylon and Elam-Persia-Anshan. If the Gambulu affiliates were to resist this new order, Ashurrakinimba was to enforce upon them the rule of Marduk and displace their fold. Likewise, the Bit-Iakim tribal states of the region south of Gambulu, were to be deported fully, much of their soldiery had been deported in 4129 by Akulabash and Enusat to Assyria and several hundred had been impressed as soldiers to march with Sinsharishkun northward. Thus, Ashurrakinimba's objective was to issue the order of deportation of civilians and march their tribe northward toward Assyrian crownlands; remaining Bit-Iakim lands would be gifted tot he Gambulu vassals or to Babylonian crownlands.

As of the year 4130 (621 BCE), though Qedar had been conquered or subjugated three times by the Assyrian empire, the region remained a difficult region to manage. Much of this difficulty is seen during the reign of Ashurbanipal, wherein Qedar rebels against Assyria, killing its assigned qepu and launching raids deep into Assyrian lands. In response, the Moabite vassal state is tasked by Ashurbanipal, the subjugation of Qedar and other rebellious Arab nomads. While Moab is able to subdue the Qedar and Moab integrates these areas into its territory under its king, Kamushalta. However, problems continue and the Arabs Qedar rebel once more and continue to present a minor thorn in the side of Assyria and Babylon and later Persia. Also a problem, was the Nabtu, who resided slightly west and south of Qedar, these peoples had supported the Qedarite rebellions and invasions of nearby Assyrian lands and opposed the Assyro-Moabite invasion of Arabia and incurred the wrath of Assyria by hiding Qedar rebels within its lands on the periphery of the empire. To Assyrian policy makers of 4130-4133, Qedar presented a problem of housing rebellious elements from their kindred in the desert areas of Babylonia and they also presented a source of danger for their propensity to favor Egyptian suzerainty in the Levant, than to that of the Assyrians. Their existence could not be ignored and currently weakened by the failed rebellion in Babylon, the perfect opportunity is presented to both deport thousands of state enemies and to crush a southern threat before it arises, including the destruction or subjugation of the Nabtu.

Thus, with a force of 5,000 warriors, Akulabash moves toward the most southern portions of the empire. Prior to meeting potential enemies, scouts are sent forth to many sectors, including toward the famed city of Gerrha, with demands to tribute, combined with protection. Akulabash knew well how to deal with those Assur saw as foes who should be humbled, crushed and subjugated as vassals. The etiquette included the Assyrian master receiving from the person seeking submission, total submission and the Assyrian representative giving no assurances in speech, until the subjugated person 'goes to his knees and hands as a dog for his master', and thus in pity for this person, the master Assur would bestow his ever present protection. Forcing Arab tribal affiliates to understand these subtle mechanics of etiquette however, were problematic, yet their submission near Babylon was necessary and if not that, their destruction.

Receiving news from his scouts, the primary chief of the currently disorganized Qedarite affiliates, was Mayqlan ibn Yauta ibn Teri al-Qaydar, a local Qedarite chief who while claiming the title of king of Qedar, had yet to grant submission or tribute to Sinsharishkun and thus in 4130, was considered both a rebellious state and also harbinger of Nabopolasser. unaware of the immense danger of the arrival of the field marshal, Mayqlan prepares to both avoid a meeting and yet also given minor assurances of submission. In times past, this tactic would generally persuade large sedentary forces from any further action and allow the Qedarites to promise tribute then once more renew their soft rebellion 10 years later. Yet in this campaign, Akulabash is acting upon a desire from the Assyrian command to totally insulate the region of Babylon and prove itself as a restorative period, like Ashurbanipal, rebellion would be met with death.

Akulabash seeing the tactics of the Qedarites move against the tribal host, by moving his army along the merchantile routes, supported and fed by their caravan and food train accompanying the army and supported by many of the merchants on the routes, the supply issue, would not be a danger at the moment. As the army marched, small tribal entities would arrive to preset their loyalty to Assyria and Akulabash using the imperial seal, accept these tribes as subjugated and order them to make their way northward, out of the zone of the impending war. As the movement of the army reached the then capital of the Qedarite rebel operations, the town/encampment of Seqayk, Akulabash received word from the merchants and Bedouin not loyal to Mayqlan al-Qaydar, that he had fled southwest, into the land of the Nabtu. In truth, Mayqlan had fled to the Nabtu upon hearing word from his scouts, that Akulabash sought not simply minute tribute, but the total conquest of the region and its integration into Assyria. Fearing for his life and inability to muster an army, he fled with his loyal forces into the realm of the Nabtu, who command at various parts of the year, the potential for an army exceeding 5,000 and coudl ptoentially gather more for a short campaign or major raid on the Levant.

The Formation of the Southern Protectorate/Vice-royalty

Upon recieving the information in late 4130 awhile stationed in Seqayk, Akulabash performed his duty as field marshal and using the imperial seal, proclaimed the creation of the Southern Protectorate and appointed a eunuch named Amushamashdan (was a eunuch sent by Sinsharishkun to fulfill the role if needed), to be the viceroy of Qedar. Then, giving a second proclamation, Akulabash gave the town the name of Dur-Balat (the life gifting fortress) and appointed an Arab among their group named Abdushamash as tarqan of the southern quarter and instructed him with available resources to see to the creation of a defense of the new capital city and provincial vice-royalty of Qedar, as well as to send an envoy to Kalhu to inform the chamberlain who would then inform Sinsharishkun. Akulabash, vaguely understanding that Sinsharishkun was planning to protect the Syrian flanks, decided (as was the policy gifted by Sinsharishkun, that is freedom to his eunuch bureaucrats to make many decisions in the field) to not return to Babylon, but using the his imperial seal, to invade the Nabtu lands and send envoys to nearby vassals of Edom, Moab and Judah, to contribute to the capture of the rebel.

Thus, in 4131, Akulabash begins an invasion of the Nabtu. In accordance with fears from nearby tribes, the Jewish king Yoshiyahu I assembled a force of 2,345 soldiers, the Moabite king Shalmanu II assembled 3,713 and the lord of Edom Kas-Baalata assembled 1,873. These three vassals of Assyria were often the states that suffered most from the dangerous Qedarite and Nabtu menaces, as sedentary states on the fringes of the Arabian desert. The Assyrian overlord status in the lower Levant, relied upon Assyrian ability to provide order to these vulnerable sedentary states int eh Lower Jordan valley. The action taken by Akulabash, would thus do well to mend the relations between the Levantine states of the Jordan and their Assyrian overlords. The campaign was somewhat haphazard, but the intention from Akulabash, was with his army marching from the northeast and the armies of the three kings from the Jordan invading from the northwest, there was the possibility of enveloping their enemies and also play upon internal Arab factionalism and destroy for at least several decades their ability to launch strikes upon Assyria or her vassals. This also was a prime opportunity for the vassals to expand their control southward and deny the Nabtu the proximity needed to reach the Jordan unopposed.

Upon the impending arrival of the enemy, the Nabtu chiefs already in a federation under several chiefs, with the chief among them having the name of Abduasira ibn Taysan al-Khayza, who having the greatest experience in raids upon Assyrian holdings and also the patron of Mayqlan al-Qaydar, held a powerful position among the tribes of the Nabtu. Other tribal elders and affiliates felt less inclined to this support, of the major 8 tribes, 2 fled southward, while the remaining 6, accepted the confederation and beginning of the conflict. As a person, Abduasira ibn Taysan al-Khayza was an Arab of old, practicing intermittent warfare among each other for parts of the year and then in other parts of the year, engaging in trade. Their raids however of the Nabtu and other Arabs, if formed in confederacies like the older Qedar and later Nabtu, could deal massive damage to the sedentary states of the Middle East. These confederacies further, would form upon the arrival of powerful armies, as during the reign of Sennacherib or Shalmaneser. Abduasira however had never faced an enemy this far south and the new precedent spells an impending doom for his lifestyle that many of the Nabtu feel and thus their ferocity in the coming battle is assured.

Akulabash marching south, aided by loyal Arab levies, was hoping oasis and attacking any Nabtu convoy on his journey. Capture of goods from Egypt, slaves and goods from the far south of Arabia were made and gifted as loot to the army. The items from Egypt became much of the talk of the camp however, as the trade with the Nabtu was forbidden to the Assyrian vassals, fear arose in the mind of Akulabash, that Psamtik I, was not so loyal after all. In contrast, the three king army bickers on its march through the northern sector of Nabtu territory and possess little cohesion when unattached to Akulabash, their apparent target. They present themselves as prey for the Nabtu, whose home is in the desert and an unready foe, is easily defeated at best and shattered at worst.

Having raised a force of 6,000 men, the Nabtu with their Qedarite allies, in a maneuver requiring great skill, move through the desert at rapid speed northward to cut the movement of the 3 king army attempting to link with their commander, Akulabash. Unaware, Akulabash sets camp near Tayma-Khanafeh to await the arrival of his allies and seeking out foes with skirmish parties on horseback. Thus, in 4131 near Altubayq, the Nabtu army meets the 3 kings and readies to battle the foe.

The Battle of Altubayq

Seeing the Arabs approach, the Levantine army forms its line opposite of the Arab direction. The vassal army composed of primarily light to medium infantry, with accompany baggage trains, horsemen and a contingent of charioteers among the Jewish force. Archers and slingers also present, the Levantine army already suffering from the heat, sends its archers to the front to pepper the Arab army with arrows. Arab forces in contrast, composed of light infantry and light cavalry, with a larger number of javelin-cavalry. Instead of awaiting the vassal army to take its time in marching forward under the cover of arrows, the Arab army, possessing the advantage in morale and cavalry, launches forward with its javelin throwing cavalry while light infantry move to the sides of the enemy to attempt to flank the enemy. The rapid strike of the Arab cavalry toward the vassal army induces the raising of shields and a slowing of pace from the army, but also a poor discretion in command. The Edomite contingent forming the right flank, wishing to engage the enemy, pushes forward to engage the flanking Arab infantry, creating opening gaps between the Jewish centre and the Edomite soldiers. The Arab cavalry quickly exploit this by charging through this gap, the tribal leaders pushing the lead, javelins flying in all directions smash into the heads of Edomite soliders who fled from their lines due to poor discipline and the Jewish centre struggles to maintain its line. The Moabite contingent withstands the Arab barrage but finds itself needing to outmaneuver the coming Arab light infantry and also receiving fire from the Qedarite archers/slingers. In need of a moral boost, the cavalry of the Moabites and the Jewish charioteers lead and counter charge against the flanking Arab infantry, while the Jewish infantry centre attempts to reform its line with the nearby Edomites, when suddenly the Arab cavalry charge into the rear of the Edomites and begin firing javelin from the rear of the Jews, causing mass panic. To further increase the mania, the Edomites broken flee from the fall back, with the king Kas-Baalata fighting his way out of the fray with his force and falling back and potentially in retreat. Meanwhile the cavalry charge on the Arab infantry is softened by the mania and the beginning encirclement of the vassal army, which begins to falter under the pressure of the onslaught. Yet in the conflict, the Jewish infantry hold their respective lines, as do the Moabites and both forces fall back for a short time. When then a second round of the Arab forces charge and in a lighting instant, the Arab cavalry burst through the tired Jewsih line in conjugation with a general Arab assault on the Levantine new right flank, the collapse of the Jewish, centre sends the army into retreat.

Through the following day, the Nabtu army assaults the retreating army for several km as the Levantine army reforms and moves northward. Already on the move, Akulabash rushes north with his force numbering 4,300 and meets the Nabtu army, too encumbered with attacking the remaining vassal army to outmaneuver Akubalash, and are forced into a battle of sorts. However, the disorganized Arab army, generally hearing the arrival of the Assyrians, fail to coalesce during the mania of the routing enemy and instead is facing the Assyrian force in pieces. The Assyrian army possessing superior cavalry and horsearchers, devastate the disorganized Arab a cavalry, while Gurrean spearmen move consistently forward killing every Arab contingent that they come across. As the situation become more dire, the less fortunate tribes north of Akubalash reform their host, while those to the west of Akubalash, flee toward the Red Sea. Nabtu forces now reformed attempt to move toward the Red Sea, but there is no use and the Assyrian army arrives before them and without any formality, the Assyrian horse archers move toward the flanks shooting arrows, while the lancers march forward and the lancers cover the flank. Arab armies of this period, the finest armies when morale was high and excellent when the enemy is routed in the looting therein, but were some of the poorest when morale reached a difficult situation and tended to run for their lives. This Nabtu army was not different and instead of engaging the more disciplined army, was haphazardly routed by the movements of the enemy and the initial blows exchanged by bow. In the route, the Assyrians showed their enemy no mercy and hunted them throughout the next day and captured both Abduasira and Mayqlan, who were chained and the army of Akubalash marched south and then north. Varied Nabtu tribal affiliates who fled south returned north and migrated to Tabuk and sent their tribal chiefs to Edom, where Akubalash was marching to seek peace accords. Akubalash received thus various Nabtu dignitaries, groveling before the Assyrian seal and begging forgiveness for their people. Akubalash thus granted the tribes who had not participated in the melee, power over the areas of the Nabtu and they would be listed as sectors of the newly formed Southern Protectorate, and thus ordered their dignitaries to send gifts to Kalhu and to Dur-Balat.

The orders of Akubalash were performed in excess, the Qedar were both destroyed, but also, the worrisome Nabtu were also subjugated for a time. As well, a Southern Protectorate was formed in the south, holding the regions of Qedar and Nabtu as its ruling lands. Yet, to the north, Sinsharishkun, is readying an army for his counter to the Scythian threat.

4132 (619 BCE)

Scythian king Ashkwarpa I in alliance with the remaining Cimmerian horde, continue to pillage across the Anatolia, northern Syria, Biainili (Urartu) and Mannaea. Their warhost in 4132, bears its head upon Biai, who by 4132, have lost control over their entire lands outside the Lake Nairi (Van) region to either local strongmen or to the Scythian host. Rusas III, the king of Biainili, a weak and ineffectual king is unable to rise much of a force to defend his lands beyond Lake Van, and his previous attempts at defeating the Scythians was met with a decisive rout in Anatolia. Argintineshtele fell in 4128, while Nihiriani fell in 4131 after an attempted Biainili counterattack. As of 4132, the situation is made even worse, when the host of Ashkwarpa I arrives on the western end of Lake Nairi, across the lake from the capital city of Tushpa and important cities, such as Aniastania. As the Scythian host works its way toward Arzasku, Rusas III plans to make a final attempt to raise an army and defend his collapsing kingdom, which begs for a victory and the return of Biai honor in the face of the barbarians.

Thus we leave on this note. Tell me what you think of the update and thanks for reading my timeline!
 
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The Scytho-Biai war pt.1
The Scythian horde of 4132 (619 BCE)

In the finals years of Ashurbanipal (668-627 BCE/4083-4124 AY), the Assyrian empire had despite reaching a pinnacle of power in many regions, defeating many rebellions and crushing Elam, had to face an ever present northern foe. traditionally, the foe to the north of Assyria, was Urartu/Biainili, around Lake Van, however after the defeat of Rusas I, Urartu ceased to be a critical threat for the Assyrian heartland. Yet, in the waning years of Ashurbanipal, the continued threat from the north, present itself in more imposing features, of a Scythian host with aligned Cimmerian hordes. From what we gather, Ashurbanipal, in advanced age, attempts with the Assyrian army to subdue to Scythians and is defeated by this Scythian warhost at some point in 632-631 BCE (4119-4120 AY), which leads to a period of two year raiding and pillaging of Assyria, Syria and northern Babylonia by the Scythian host. According to Babylonian sources, the Assyrian army hid within the strong walls of Ninevah, Babylon and Assur, while Kalhu, Musasir, and other cites fell and were sacked by this host. The decimation of Assyria, is unprecedented in Assyrian history and by 4132, the Assyrian policy and mindset is one of aversion and utter distaste for the steppe hordes, especially the Scythians and their associated Cimmerian magnates. This distaste would make for odd bedfellows between Assyria and previously hated foes.

The Scythian warhost, commanded by a 'king' named Ashkwarpa, a powerful warrior of renown among the hordes to the north and a rapidly feared name in the lands of Urartu and Syria. Under him, exists a current dominion over the region of Pontus, the entirety of Anatolia east of the Halys, control over Tabal, Quwe and rulership over the lands north of Mananaea (ruled by Media). This host, also has a powerful hold on all of the lands of Urartu aside from the eastern populated edge of Lake Nairi (Van), the Scythian zones of raiding also extend deep into Syria, toward Hamath but do not exceed Hamath and do not currently reach Ninevah, Sarbinu, Dur-Sharrukin or Musasir, due to the renewed peace of Assyria and Media.

As an entity however, this Scythian host cannot be assumed to be entirely Scythian in the ethnic sense, but a conglomerate. Within the Scythian host, exists most prominently, the Scythian peoples, an Iranic people from the Pontic steppe, who were derived from some of the earliest horse breeders in Eurasia. Arriving in the 660s BCE, their influence int he region has been disastrous, empowering other rebellious Anatolian, Cimmerian and Caucasian peoples in the region, their existence has been perhaps the most damaging to the order of Ashrubanipal of any other polity. As mentioned earlier, the Cimmerian peoples having existed in the region since the year 715 BCE, are the greatest non Scythian element within the host, and compose an effective barrier against the Lydians. Of ambiguous ethnicity, the Cimmerians are generally considered an Iranic or Thracian grouping, which is possibly a composite of the two groups in a conglomerate horde occupying the ancient land of Pala, Hatti and the Tabal ranges. In the period of Sargon II (722-705 BCE/4029-4046 AY), the Cimmerians conquered Phyrgia, slaying the mythic king Midas and pillaging across Anatolia; their pillaging drew the attention of Assyria, who subdued the Cimmero-Thracian horde in the Tabal region but with only a pyrrhic victory, as Sargon II was killed in the campaign and Assyria was forced to fall back before the Cimmerians could be fully exterminated. Since this failure, successive Assyrian rulers have only blocked the floodgates with temporary measures, unable or unwilling to launch the decisive counter. Much of this inability was due to the lack of willing partners in the region, generally other powers north of Assyria, were too weak to bring these hordes to task, even with Assyrian assistance. In the middle 7th century however, the rise of the Lydian kingdom from Sardis changed situations in the region and Lydia had defeated a Cimmerian host (possibly aligned to the Scythian host which was residing in Pontus) in 632 BCE along the river Halys. Cimmerian particupation thus, may be seen as the lesser within the current warhost of Ashkwarpa, as opposed to the 8th century power that the Cimmerians presented. Also present within the Scythian warhost, was many tributaries of the former Assyrian, Urartian, Median and Lydian kingdoms, who conquered and pillaged, exist in a haphazard state of tribute bearing and submission to the Scythians and the Cimmerians. This trend of former territories of nearby sedentary peoples as composed within this warhost's dominion, is in parallel with the trends following the Bronze Age collapse. That being, a large movement towards decentralization and ruling by 'predatory' warhosts who destroying nearby powerful states, construct a series of subjugated states (an example of this in the Bronze Age Collapse, was the Kaska host, which was defeated by the Assyrians near Carchemish).

The situation north of Assyria is not too different from this state of existence as was seen in 1000 BCE, the beginning fall of Urartu, declined Assyrian presence and the weakened Phrygo-Lydian power, has made the land lawless and ruled only by migratory hosts and local warlords, formerly loyal to Urartu or Assyria. In otl, Media, Lydia and Babylon would tame this region and Cyrus the Great would be the final blow to the world of the post Bronze Age in the areas of the former Hittite, Mitanni and Urartian lands.

In 4132 AY (619 BCE), the situation though is different than otl, the Assyrian empire is more or less prepared for war and with Media and Lydia all holding deep grudges, in the coming years, Ashkwarpa will face a difficult position. To remedy this, Ashkwarpa, bending to the needs of his horde to acquire loot, have launched the final invasion upon Urartu. Prior to this, the Scythians the past 1o years, have thoroughly dominated the Urartian holdings aside form the lands of the eastern sectors of the kingdom. The fortress city of Arzasku on the northern sector of Lake Van, blocks the Scythian host in their journey to the heartland of Urartu. Rusas III in 4131, gathered an army with his utmost ability, to reach Arzasku and defeat the Scythians before they take the city that holds the keys to the fertile lands of his realm. Should Urartu defeat the horde of Ashkwarpa, Rusas III woudl be in position to retake most of his realm with the help of Media and possibly Assyria.

With the goal set forth, Rusas III with an army of 12,000 warriors march northward to Arzasku to meet the inevitable movement of the enemy host. On the other end, the Scytho-Cimmerian host pillage and raid the land, slowly making its way north. The underpopulated west of lake Van, was traditionally left unharmed by Assyrian armies, as the land is extremely poor and the population made up of poor villages, migrants and fisherman from the fertile eastern edge of Lake Van. In previous days, the population of the region would have long fled into the mountains (the rural folk) due to the Urartian mountain fire signals and alarms which would give forewarning of coming invasions. However, in 4130, much of the needed infrastructure for this, had been snuffed out by the Scythian strikes and the flight of Urartian garrisons after the fall of Argineshtele and in 4131 with the fall of Nihiriani. Thus, the western edge of the lake, is left without fair warning; yet on the eastern edge, notified of the presence of the Scythian host, many of the rural folk, have fled into the mountains and hills in the south, many even fleeing toward Media or Assyria. In the months leading up to the battle, thousands of migrants fill the Assyrian region of Sarbinu and Musasir as the impending conflict ensues.

The Conflict of Arzasku

Rusas III arriving near Arzasku, had been able to rapidly outpace the Scythian warhost in his travel; knowledge of the countryside was always the greatest skill of Urartu and their hill forts and protected villages and militia, slowed Scythian movement by high degrees. Further, the geography was on the side of Rusas III, who possessed rudimentary roads from Tushpa to Arzasku for at least a part of the transit. Angered by the speed of his foe's speed, Askwarpa however proved a most eloquent general and did not make his pace faster, not wishing to hurry a battle that was not necessary at the moment. Urartu was the one who was lacking, as they could not loot their own lands and much of their population on the eastern banks had already begun evacuating. Rather, Ashkwarpa seeking to find a beenficial spot for a pitched battle falls back and hugs the lowlands surrounding the lake, while detachments of soldiery skirmish the Uratians across the field.

Much of these skirmishes are centered around the Urartians attempting to push the enemy toward the mountains and out of the lowlands and also recapture of forts and village palisades. While Scythian maneuvers focused upon cutting communication lines, supply and capturing enemy warriors. The battle between the cavalry of the opposing forces in these skirmishes also present an interesting study, as Urartian javelin cavalry patrolled and protected supply lines, while light bow wielding Scythians and Cimemrians met these forces in fearsome cavalry bouts. Likewise, Cimemrian javelin throwers played important roles in the early stages of the war for Arzasku, light, fast and hard hitting and reminiscent of the Thracian warriors in Europe, they moved with a purpose and proficiency that often exceeded the rapidly raised Urartian infantry, who were in effect, recently raised conscripts. The power of Urartu was its royal guard and its heavy cavalry (lancers and javelin throwers in the Assyrian method [Assyria though did not utilize javelin throwing cavalry and instead used horse archers]) who defended communication lines and prepared for the ultimate confrontation. In late 4132, Rusas III feeling the heat of the campaign and wishing to return to Tushpa after word had reached him from scouts on his eastern border, warning of Median encroachment and interference, decided to engage the enemy host in a pitched battle.

The Battle of the Biai shores

Rusas III arrived 2 days after making his decision before Ashkwarpa who had fled to areas near the lake shore, some 15 km from Arzasku. Here, Rusas III seeking total victory and not wishing to underestimate his foe, orders an attack of his elite cavalry, while his infantry take the rear and fan out toward the north to stop a retreat. In the charge, the Urartian charges headlong into the Scythian army, who prior to the confrontation pepper their enemy with arrows and sway back and forth, before ramming headlong into the enemy. Meanwhile Cimmerain infantry and cavalry attack flank the strike and attack the Urartian infantry behind the front lines. In a short chaos of arrows, shouts and strikes, a Scythian horseman pulls through the enemy line with the head of the Uratian commander and the Scythian horseman push the Uratian host backwards. Meanwhile, the Cimmerian attack decimates the Uratian infantry in the rear and forces a rout of the Urartian army. In the mayhem, the Scythian army searches the battlefield for Rusas III, who had escaped by jumping into the lake and swimming to a nearby safe zone near Arzasku, is then ferried by fisherman to Aniastania where on a horse and with his close compatriots, flees southward toward Musasir in Assyria.

Next update, we will recover from where we are at currently.
 
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