The Burning Cauldron: The Neo Assyrian Empire Defended

Maybe. With only making a short comment on this point, we can say that Hebrew is a Canaanite variety if we assume that the Canaanite identity spread so far south as to reach into Edom and Moab. My understanding, is that both of these peoples were near indistinguishable from the Hebrews of Judah. This to me, displays more of a greater Western Semitic and proto-Canaanite inhabitance from Judah into Northern sections of Arabia and Jordan. What would have at one point been a similar people in the Copper Age or the very early Bronze Age, were diverged by the time that we mean, such that the pastoralists Hebrews and others may have migrated into the lands from Northern Arabia. I also would like to note, that the closeness and proximity at times shared between Judah and the Nabtu and other Arabs, has always interested me. One would imagine if the Hebrew were closer to the peoples of Tyre and Sidon in culture, they would have besought their aid against their enemies, rather than groups often far afield to the south. Just a thought though, not a major point.

In payment for derailing the thread, perhaps, what is your thoughts on the recent wars and expectation for the campaign headed by Sinbanipal unfolding during the recent narrative. Or any opinions on other points, such as Sinbanipal and his rule.
All keeps being very interesting and fascinating. I especially like how you manage to get across the Assyrian perspective on things. Sinbanipal reign is shaping as a transformative event for the structure of the Assyrian state, which is becoming increasingly decentralized and, thus, significatly more flexible.
I suppose this is where it needs to go in order to expand and last indeed.
Colchis is shaping to be a major problem in the near future, one that cannot be deferred much long by now.
It seems like it has formed as a mirror of Urartu itself, defining its polity as a coaliscing response to Assyrian encroaching imperialism to become a formidable foe - one that Sinbanipal will likely have to deal with decisively after the later developments, in order to avenge the earlier setbacks. Speaking of which, clearly his first defeat in Barbashru was deeply formative to him , his policies and general outlook to the future of the Empire.
Now that the East has been at least temporarily secured (as long as Cambyses does not get any ideas) the Northern border becomes the most pressing military offensive/defensive concern for Assyria (as it has been in the long term anyway) and I suppose that Sinbanipal will have to go there in full force again soon.
All these waves of steppe nomads need to be kept in check, or Transcaucasia may become a permanent rival.
Regarding the next campaign into Arabia, does Sinbanipal plan to cross the whole peninsula from the wherebouts of Hagar/Gerrha to Hijaz? That would be an impressive feat if successful, but also a demanding task: Najd is not a forgiving environment.
 
All keeps being very interesting and fascinating. I especially like how you manage to get across the Assyrian perspective on things. Sinbanipal reign is shaping as a transformative event for the structure of the Assyrian state, which is becoming increasingly decentralized and, thus, significatly more flexible.
I suppose this is where it needs to go in order to expand and last indeed.
Colchis is shaping to be a major problem in the near future, one that cannot be deferred much long by now.
It seems like it has formed as a mirror of Urartu itself, defining its polity as a coaliscing response to Assyrian encroaching imperialism to become a formidable foe - one that Sinbanipal will likely have to deal with decisively after the later developments, in order to avenge the earlier setbacks. Speaking of which, clearly his first defeat in Barbashru was deeply formative to him , his policies and general outlook to the future of the Empire.
Now that the East has been at least temporarily secured (as long as Cambyses does not get any ideas) the Northern border becomes the most pressing military offensive/defensive concern for Assyria (as it has been in the long term anyway) and I suppose that Sinbanipal will have to go there in full force again soon.
All these waves of steppe nomads need to be kept in check, or Transcaucasia may become a permanent rival.
Regarding the next campaign into Arabia, does Sinbanipal plan to cross the whole peninsula from the wherebouts of Hagar/Gerrha to Hijaz? That would be an impressive feat if successful, but also a demanding task: Najd is not a forgiving environment.
For the moment, Sinbanipal is invading the Ahsa, which resisted Adad-apal-Duranki in 589-588 BCE. Afterwards, he will attempt to acquire tribute from all of the Arab states in effective range of Dilmun. It is a followup of the campaign waged by Adad-apal-Duranki. After subjugating what he can, the plan is to march through the Southern Protectorate lands, to reassert the reality of the Great King and then march upon Egypt and demand a resumption of tributary relations. The past years have seen Egypt been bullied by Assyria and forced to submit to raids, pillaging and demands of tribute. It is doubtful that Egypt can maintain a poltick of appeasement forever, or at least do so and keep their throne.

Yes, the idea is ultimately an innovation of Assyrian traditions. Maniuqappu can be credited as its foremost proponent, that is that the Assyrian empire has particular set centre and region, from which emanates empire and conquest. To create constant buffers surrounding it, to better maximize the extraction of war making capabilities and also extend Akkadian influence alongside using their positioning as springboards for invasion. It is important that this was conceived of in this manner, as it is permitting Assyria to focus upon its war making nature. Without having to directly manage lands and operate provinces, it allows Assyria to focus upon war and the maintenance of empire through the sword. However, it also has an obvious limit to other aspects of traditional Assyrian kingship, namely the idea that a Great King faces battle himself, directs campaigns from the front and has dictatorial power over all matters, permitting less freedoms to localized officials. It also as I stated in the update, lowers overall tax revenue, and decreases the civil footprint of the Assyrian king in terms of his management capacity. Acquisition of loot and tribute takes and even greater precedence than prior.

Yes! I am glad someone has remembered some of my posts on Urartu. Urartu formed as a sort of conglomerate of tribal affiliates and cities who formed under a kingdom in order for the sole purpose of defending and averting conquest by Assyria. This made Urartu particularly dangerous to ASsyria, as it was a state conceived of as the antithesis to Assyria and then adopting an offensive counter strategy. Colchis is much the same to Urartu in this atl, it was once part of Urartu, but broke from its yoke. Colchis had reacted to Assyria much the same way Uraurtu did two centuries prior. Colchis however has a smaller population and capacity for agriculture than Urartu. Yet it makes up for this by having access to an even more formidable mountain range and allies and comrades in Scythia, who maintain Colchis and use it as a funnel to enter the Assyrian empire.

Ultimately, the best way to deal with this, is to destroy Colchis, and expand into the Pontic Steppe through a Northern Protectorate. This is easier said than done however. Indeed, the Scythians are dangerous, as are others in the region. Assyria is also perhaps kicking up too much dirt. As Urartu and Colchis displays, turbulence and constant war carries a great toll and as Assyria gains ascendancy, it too must creep through muddy waters to survive.

Regarding the north being a greatest threat. Probably so. The west is also a dangerous front, perhaps greater in chaos at least. For now though, the Skudra tribes seem more focused on taking the lands of Anatolia formerly held by Lydia than in entering Assyrian lands.
 
The Assyrian campaign into Ahizamanu and the War in Anatolia Revisited Once More
585-580 BCE



The Second Greco-Lydian war



Alyattes had succeeded his father Sadyattes by murdering him and capturing the throne with the assistance of the nobility alongside affirming many of the more popular reform movements by his father. Alyattes secured much of the borders that his father had lost in the years of 589-588 BCE in the resumption of war with the Skudra. Approximately, ½ of the kingdom had fallen, most importantly, the north and eastern parts of the realm. Only the south and the west remained firmly in the hands of Sardis.

Alyattes securing the realm came with a short respite in the year of 587 BCE. There, Alyattes saw to tending to his name and the legacy of Sadyattes. His inscriptions obfuscated the truth of his father, which remained in only foreign records. That is, Alyattes claimed Sadyattes disappeared, that he rose into the clouds and became a god.

“Whence upon the day of the summer warmth greatest and most near the breast, my father, the grand Sadyattes, reformer of the kingdom, flew into the clouds. Kingship was bestowed upon I, a young brave, whose favor was in the gods, both for the Mother Kubaba, the lord of the storm Teshub and for the ancestors whose numeration is untold.” -Inscription in Sardis, 587 BCE



The memory of Sadyattes was reformed and maintained fully by Alyattes who took the title as follows:

“I am Alyattes, the avenger of Lydia, King of the Expanse, Popular King, Lord of the farmlands, Master of the shepherds, He who chastises the Merchants, Friend of those High and Low and the Son of God” -Full title of Alyattes

Alyattes thus maintained most of the reforms of Sadyattes. Mercantile operations remained government monopolies and the king maintained anti-Hellenic and anti-foreigner rhetoric. Yet, the prominence of the nobility returned. Nobles were appointed to all the highest military posts and commoners demoted. This increased the importance once more of cavalry formations, yet with a continued standing and conscript-based army. Garrisons were strengthened across the kingdom and the affirmation of Sadyattes’ fear of a resumption of Greek aggression was headed as the standing army in Ionia was given ready supplies from Sardis to maintain its watch.

Such fears were not without cause. In Greece, the alliance between Sparta and Egypt, caused stirrings in the Hellenic world. Never before had a blatant alliance with Egypt been made by a Hellenic country, especially not the ancient Sparta. Leon I and Archidamus I of Sparta, the brother kings made their alliance with Psamtik II and planned to make use of the alliance.

Leon I sought especially to revenge losses made in the prior Greco-Lydian war, by gaining revenge upon Lydia in war and freeing Ionia from Lydian bondage. Ultimately, as scholars of the day suggest, this was an attempt by Sparta to display power and diminish the rising Athenian fame in the region. As such, Leon I gained a large force and procured an agreement with Psamtik II. Leon I who had in the prior year of 587 BCE, took on an Egyptian scribe from Sais, ordered a letter of request to be drawn up for the Egyptian Pharaoh, Psamtik II:



“Dear friend and lord of the Nile River, the king of the Two Horizons. Do look kindly upon thy friend in Sparta, whose honor is great and whose lordship is friendly to thine own. Beseech you, doth we, saying thus: ‘come to the aid of thy kindred and make a war upon the Lydians who hath done wrong unto all man.’ Send us, O kindred, the supplies and aid for which we may reach the foreign land and trounce the enemy.” -Letter between Leon I and Psamtik II.

The letter implied a request of aid in the form of supplies and potentially warriors and ships. Psamtik II received the letter in the spring of 585 BCE and his scribes immediately translated it to Akkadian and sent a copy to the Palace Herald of Assyria, Kanisratu-Balutu-Assur stationed in Ashkelon, to ensure due submission to Assyria. Psamtik II responded in true force; as Sparta had assisted Psamtik II in dispatching Aspelta, so too must Psamtik II assist Leon I and Archidamus I of Sparta. Psamtik II sent his Mediterranean fleet, constructed by Necho II and manned by Greek, Egyptian and Phoenician seamen. It was to carry a fair bit of supplies kept in the treasury, especially weapons. Psamtik II went over even Spartan expectations when he sent a small force as well of 750 Egyptian archers to be assigned to Leon I and assist him in combat.

Why Psamtik II went so far in this, is a major question. Most important most likely, is that this displays a greater interest of Egypt in the north and Greece in particular and a display of power there, would warrant Egypt a vehicle for which to eventually protect itself more efficiently against Assyria. Likewise, the display was also intended perhaps to project Egyptian might into the Greek region by projecting dominance over Athens. An alliance of a naval oriented Egypt and a land-based Greek federation under Sparta, would be an extremely dangerous foe indeed.

Once Egyptian naval enforcements arrived, Leon I sent his envoys to Sardis, heralding war between the two kingdoms. Leon I cited as his reasonings, the oppression of the Greeks within the Lydian realm and then expounded upon the true majesty of the spartan king and the pretense of the Lydian king, claiming divinity in his recent 587 title expansion.

Leon I gathered a host of warriors from his city, his vassals and the token force from Egypt. While his army led by him made haste to Anatolia, the Egyptian navy set ship at Corinth where they interacted with the locals. Of whom the fame was increasing, ultimately reaching the city of Athens and all the country abound the Hellenes, that Old Egypt had assisted Sparta and that soon perhaps a Spartan-Egyptian hegemony was upon the land….

Nevertheless, the Second Greco-Lydian war began in late summer of 585 BCE as Leon I arrived at Ephesus and there the local populace hailed him as a savior and pledged fealty to him should he gain victory in battle. However, Leon I rejected their offerings of assistance in supplies. Instead the Ephesian populace was to be provided for by the Egyptian navy which was carrying goods from Corinth to Ephesus regularly. The Spartan army numbered 35,000 warriors approximately and were more prepared to battle the Lydians than in their prior campaign. Especially the cavalry contingents that the Lydians possessed. For that matter, Leon I had hired a contingent of 1,000 horsemen from Dacia for which to maintain a level of mobility on the offensive and provide cover for his infantry and forward positions.

Leon I took a very determined movement, attempting to take the initiative, he marched north toward Sardis, instead of south toward Miletus. According to Herodotus, Leon I felt a distinct ambition to defeat Alyattes in battle and thus inspire Ionian revolt in the south. If Leon I relied upon making gains in the south at the expense of a decisive victory against Alyattes, the Lydians would eb able to eventually overwhelm him. Likewise, the usage of Ionian soldiers was to be used at best as last resort. Leon I marched in an unexpected and terrible curve. Lydian defenses around Sardis were not to be trifled with. Leon I maintained guards on the Cayster River and otherwise pushed into the Sardis defensive lines.

Alyattes responded by sending his noble lord assigned to guard Ionia, Azuwiyaya with the standing army prepared by Sadyattes to engage from the south the Spartan army and crush it in the field. The army under Azuwiyaya was a divided force, it was the most recent army to have its commanders changed to nobles and the common soldiers used to Sadyattes and his ferocity and anti-noble and merchant mentalities, did not care for the change in the guard. Ultimately, the army too was divided by the infantry of common origin feeling dishonored by the symbols of the force being shifted to being held only by the cavalry of noble levies.

This army marched north from Tralleis toward the Cayster river, attempting to cut off the supply lines of the Spartan army. Leon I, turned back as the enemy was crossing the river and exposed the poor commandership and frank idiocy of Azuwiyaya, who was caught crossing the river as Leon I struck his army with a detachment of elites. The spartan detachment was made up of new and innovative phalanx medium infantry. They caught the Lydian army at surprise and defeated the Lydian field army in the field, scattering the enemy army which fell back to Tralleis. This caused an almost immediate response from Miletus, which declared war upon Lydia the following week, sending an army to besiege Priene and to harry the Lydian force under Azuwiyaya.

The Great Mutiny of 585 BCE and the Path of Alyattes

The defeat of Azuwiyaya in the field caused a general chaos and anger within the field army. The army had not lost a significant number of soldiers but were ultimately bested in the field due to surprise and by the skillful use of frontlines by the spartan infantry. The noble cavalry had attempted to break ranks and break the enemy formation, but were sorely decimated and the rank infantry were unable to make gains and were forced to make a foothold a km from the river to permit the nobles to escape the battle.

Anger and resentment grew. Making matters worse, Greek spies had made their way into the army. Mass conscription as intended by Sadyattes included the conscription near indiscriminately and especially of volunteers. Greek spies were able to enter thus easily, assuming they could speak Arzawa-Lydian. These spies spread rumors amongst the soldiers that the nobles had slain Sadyattes and have currently trapped Alyattes in the temple of Kubaba in Sardis. Thus the spies described, was why Alyattes, a man of standing, did not march to battle himself, as he was trapped by the nobles, unable to make contact with his devotees in the rank army.

These talks, led to fury and in the night, which came to be known as the great mutiny, the rank and file infantry betrayed their noble commanders and slaughtered the host of cavalry men as they slept in camp, some 11 km from Tralleis. A certain commoner took control of the army, naming himself Kuripzizi (He who enters the field of war) and declared a new army. Using captured bureaucrat envoys whom the warriors had captured and impressed he ordered to be written in Anatolian hieroglyphs, a message card to be held aloft in battle:



“For the King of the Lands, Friend of the People, We present thee an army! Victory is due to He who stands among the fields tended by the folk of the Lands.”



Renaming their army, ‘Burning Justice: Rescued King’ they organized themselves and sent word unto the garrisons around them, to betray the nobles and rescue the popular king in Sardis, and; destroy the Spartan army. Thus, by the month of July, the mutiny was complete and a large series of revolts seemed to be spreading across Lydia. Leon I for his part raided and pillaged the lands north of Sardis. Attempting to draw his enemy out of the city, Leon I took Smryna, before setting siege to Kymi, the port of Sardis along the Aegean coastline. However, more pressing to the Lydian king Alyattes was how to deal with the eruption of the mutinies across the garrisons in the south. In late July, these mutineers proved their merits by defeating the Miletans in battle near the Caystor river and launching raids upon Ephesus. In the country about southern Lydia, a general movement of war readiness had surged through the population. Many who were weary of war in prior years, regained their vigour at the war drum that the son of Sadyattes had been chained to the pillar in the temple of Kubaba and that the nobles were conspiring to permit the Greeks to conquer Sardis so as to regain their lands and estates fully. Alyattes could see the unfolding mayhem reached even the great city of Sardis, a truly immense city. According to the Greek political philosopher Xenophanes:

“Alyattes provides for us the clear example of how kingship in crisis is to operate. That when disaster comes, when faced with alternative directions; one acts as to what is most practical, not to what is right prior. For all reasoned actions have merit, the judgement of that which is better among acts, is that act that corresponds to the current situation most precise. Alyattes was faced with a revolt of the common soldiers and rapidly the entire populace was driven into a panic on behalf of their king…. Alyattes had choice to calm the crowds and risk their rage or affirm their fears and take hold of their madness for the harnessing of greater power and a greater sustenance of the Lydian nation.”

Alyattes according to the court records and opinion of the Ankuwa scribes (the eventual Ankuwan Recollection) would make his decision based upon the seemingly phenomenal success of the commoner armies against the Greeks in the south. Likewise, the commoner mutiny had spread to Halicarnassus wherein the army had ousted the nobles and also reined in the local Greek subjects efficiently.

Alyattes betrayed his noble benefactors in the month of August, as the Spartan army had recently broken the siege of Kymi, to attack Kuripizi at Priene. Alyattes alongside a single noble house, referred to as the House of Sardis, or the Sardians, prepared an escape. The king was to be snuck into the temple of Kubaba and then the noble lord of the Sardians, named Mashhiuluwa (I stood behind him in support) was to appear to a crowd of the public seeking their aid to save the king. This plan occurred on the 6th of August. Mashhiuiluwa appeared to give a grand oration to the public and persuaded the populace of the need to act and save the king. A city guard and hasty force formed and assailed the temple and soon after, with Alyattes enthroned upon a matt, carried him to the palace and the city guard dispatched guards to arrest certain nobles accused by Alyattes of crimes, who were then thrown into prison.

Alyattes thus took his army, made up of mostly commoners and left Sardis and chased after Leon I. Before he could catch him, on the 13th of August, Leon I had engaged in a series of clashes with Kuripazizi, leading to a stalemate in the field near Smryna where the tow forces were launching repeated clashes. Alayattes arrived on the 16th and the two armies combined with Lydian strength were able to drive the Spartans into a retreat which corresponded with a resumption of conflict around Ephesus between the two armies around the Caystor river, which the Greeks held strongly. Athenian assistance also arrived in early September, forcing the fall of Mylasa, despite heavy Lydian resistance.

Alyattes had even bigger issues in September however, for word had reached the Lydian king while on campaign that a rebellion had erupted in Lycia, led by local landlords, who had appointed a certain noble named Arnyanuli (Man from Arnyana) who proclaimed himself King of the Trmyamis. This rebellion was coupled with an alliance between this king and the Ionian factions. To make matters worse, war had erupted once more between the Skudran states to the north and east. Seemingly, the Odyrssians had formed an alliance with the Bithynians, coordinating into a horizontal alliance against the Thyni, whose realm constituted the smallest and weakest of the major Skudra peoples within Anatolia.

The recent successes in the field did not deter Alyattes from the fear of being overrun by the Skudra from the north, and then the Greco-Trmyamis to the south and west. Fearing more the threat from the north, Alyattes decided to make peace with one and attack the other. In the month of November 585 BCE, Alyattes concluded a peace with Leon I and the Ionian League. The treaty stipulated:



-Samos would be ceded to the Ionian League

-Priene would be ceded to the Ionian League

-Miletos would receive all of its surrounding countryside

-Mylasa would be ceded to the Ionian League and the League would extend to the end of the Cyster River.

-The Ionian border would be set in the north at the Cayster River and in the south the city of Mylasa. The Eastern border is set at Tralleis, which would remain a Lydian possession.

-Halicarnassus would remain a Lydian holding

-The kingdom of Lycia/Trmyamis would be released from Lydian rule. The borders of Trmyamis would be beginning at the sea, extending to Kibrya in the north along Indus in Asia Minor and to the east, ending at Attaleia.

-The treaty shall last 7 years, from 584-577 BCE.

At the conclusion, Sparta formed what became known as the Quintople Alliance. Sparta, Egypt, the Ionian League, Trmyamis and Corinth.

The Skudran realms 585-584 BCE

As Alyattes made peace with the Quintuple Alliance in December of 585 BCE, the three kings of the Skudra of Anatolia began warring once more. Pirûkamon the great king of the Bithynians had caused enormous turbulence in the region by conquering 1/3 of the former lands occupied by Skudra and forming a hyper-aggressive state in the northwest. This Bithynian kingdom was centered in the city of Nikaia and was by the year 585 BCE, still an overwhelmingly Skudran state in terms of appearance. The majority of the populace was rapidly becoming Skudran, as Anatolian peoples throughout the population were rapidly subsumed or fled southward. Yet, the replacement, itself was causing a level of osmosis of customs to the Skudra who inhabited cities and or settled to farm near Anatolian villages. Namely, this was occurring in the sense of gods, as somewhat similar Inod-European religious deities mixed together. Already in the year 586 BCE, Pirûkamon was claiming himself to be ‘the warrior of Tarhuna, the Thunder God.’

Yet, the Bithynian realm was also the least heavily invested in the Anatolian language and ruling customs. Pirûkamon ruled his realm by distributing lands to those tribes which provided merit in battle. Those tribes that did not, or bands that were of less skill, were made subordinates of those primate clans and tribes with whom Pirûkamon made lords. Pirûkamon ruled likewise, through these clans, whom he made lords and at times, giving them the title kings. These were called by the Assyrian chronicles as ‘petty kings’ or ‘assistant adjunct kings.’ In Thracian, these were called Periruvus or the ‘River Sons’ implying that they were rivers that flowed from the ‘High King.’

Pirûkamon on the otherhand, took the title of Apasharizu or ‘Water King,’ implying that he is the water from which the lesser kings derive their existence. Greek sources, describe this as ‘High King of Bithynia,’ who held in his realm many ‘kings’ or ‘River Sons’ yet all were under the ‘High King’ who commanded kings. This formula was a derivative of the Thracian tribal customs within Thracia and Dacia, yet more formalized and stratified as a relation to the Anatolian highlands. These Bithynian lords also took very seriously their role as lords in the new lands. Settling intensely, importing Greek scribes to serve their state and attempting to attract trade and new military innovations, especially more heavier armor styles from Assyria.

At this time, the Skudra armies were in all of the realms, still quite northern European and steppe in appearance. Soldiers wore wool shirts, jackets and wide and short capes, tall pointed hats or iron helmets, pants of many different contrasting colors, boots with laces and wool gloves and bracelets. Their men wore jewelry when permitted, typically amber, bronze and golds. While when clothing was removed, tattoos were transcribed upon the men whose deeds in battle were of merit, typically blue, the sacred color of tattoos. Tattoos were typically of items of war, horses, chariots, axes, swords, bows, etc… In terms of weapons and equipment of war aside from armor, the Skudra utilized a combination of iron swords, axes, javelin and Scythian Eurasian steppe bows. Their cavalry was also famous, made up of horse archers, javelin throwers and cavalry who wore heavier iron armor and were able to swing axes from atop the horse. In general, the Skudra had skilled javelin men and cavalry and the rest of their forces were relatively ordinary for European armies. That is, they were lighter in armor, high in morale when momentum was good, undisciplined, skilled in duels, poor in formation and prolific in terms of pre-battle dance, song and pomp.

To the south of the Bithynian kingdom, was the Thyni, who are in a state of chaos. Having lost their capitol and primary region of power, the Thyni are in a difficult spot as of 586 BCE. Their king Thyni is reaching an advanced age and the Thyni forces are disorganized. Yet, the Thyni possess some strengths. Namely, their horde is large and their territory includes the largest amount of walled fortifications in Anatolia. Already, the Thyni are displaying themselves as a defensive state, seeking to hold forts across Phrygia and impose itself as a local Skudro-Anatolian state. Access to these fortifications, and from impressing Anatolian bureaucrats, has led to a greater adoption of iron armors by the armies of the Thyni than their northern neighbor. Yet, Thyni had not implemented any major series of state reforms. His realm is still very traditional in style, with tribal elites paying respects to their king through service in battle but taking no new names or terms to make themselves known. The Thyni capitol was set at the city of Dorylaion and Pessinus.

To the east was the Odyrssian kingdom under Puraykames of the Odrysssi. The largest and most populous of the Skudra states in the region by a fair margin, it seemed at least a contender for the strongest among them. It held its capitol at Gordion but the majority of its populace was residing in the region of Lukkawanda, which was becoming spoken of by the new Thracian speaking inhabitants as Lukshawandi. The king of the realm, Puraykames, was a prolific warrior in the field, his fame was renowned amongst the Thracian speakers of all the tribes and he titled himself ‘The Heroic King, Protector of the Odryssian.’ His skill in battle had permitted his carving out of a large realm covering a fair portion of Anatolia and sharing the border with the Assyrian empire to the east, the Bithynian kingdom to the northwest and the Thynia and Lydians to the north and south respectively.

The kingdom had the largest population of non-Thracian speakers and the most highly urban. Currently, the Skudran tribes residing therein, maintained their customs and lived rural lifestyles outside of the cities farming and herding. They collected by the year 584 BCE, a regular tax and tribute from the city and village dwelling Anatolian populace. In exchange for the tribute, unlike in the Thyni kingdom, the Anatolian peoples were not forced to fight in battles, they became economic bonuses, yet militarily unused by the Skudra, who asserted themselves as a military elite in the lands they ruled. This structure was highly positive to the ruled populace, who had already been unreceptive or the least receptive to the reforms of conscription in Lydia. The removal of military obligations gave a sense of relief throughout the Lukkawandan population, who still feared the Assyrian empire to the east.

In this milieu, the Skudran states had formed into two distinct power blocs. A horizontal alliance between the Odryssian kingdom and the Bithynian kingdom. Each of which seeking to divide the Thyni and Lydian kingdom between the two of them. The Thyni lacked little to no means by which to protect itself against these behemoths aside from defend themselves indefinitely. This issue had been averted by the dual defeats suffered by the Odryssians and the Bithynians in the years of 589-587 BCE. Puraykames had been denied in his southern and western expansion by a resurgent Lydian kingdom under Alyattes and Thynus himself had defeated the Bithynian king Pirûkamon in the field near Dorylaion, forcing the Bithynian expansionism to take a break for a full two years. However, this situation changed in November and December of 585 BCE, when the two major Skudran states began to raid the exterior areas of Phrygia. In December of 585 BCE, Pirûkamon with a force of 3,700 horseman pushed deep into Phrygia, pillaging and setting the countryside ablaze. Thynus reacted by raising an army to defeat the enemy, who quickly fled, after his flight, an Odryssian army of 17,200 entered the Thyni realm and sacked Pessinus, before retreating with loot to Gordion. Thyus countered the Odyrssians by launching his own raid into Lukkawanda, wherein his force raided several frontier villages and defeated a subordinate clan affiliate in the month of January 584 BCE.

The Great Phrygian War 585-583 BCE Part One

This untenable situation of raids is typically categorized as the beginning of wars in 585 BCE. An early beginning heralded a greater and wider war between many different states and powers over Anatolia in general. The raid by Thynus into Lukkawanda, saw the heating of the war into a conflagration.

Puryakames and Pirûkamon met near Gordion between their two realms in the month of February 584 BCE and agreed to formally engage and destroy the Thyni for good. Arriving in their respective realms, both rose large armies. The two formed large forces for which to siege, and invaded the Thyni realm after a month of preparation in the month of March 584 BCE.

The invasion from two sides was handled by the Thyni who focused upon defending their fortresses and engaging in large skirmishes across the fronts. In late March, Puryakames defeated a smaller Thyni army near Pessinus and by the 23rd of March, Pessinus had fallen to the Odyrssian king. Meanwhile, in the north, the Thyni attacked countered the Bithynian force in middle March, and stalled their advance, before holding the city of Dorylaion against the enemy in late March. In the month of April Thyni forces were unable to stop recurring raids south of Dorylaion by the Odyrssians, but were nevertheless able to hold most of their major forts throughout April and once again stopped as Bithynian attempt at taking the city, leading to the Bithynian host splitting into groups and raiding the region while lightly sieging Dorylaion.

The blockade of the city though was ineffective, as supplies flowed into the city and in the south, resources were readily transported by armed bands that resisted raids. Despite that truth, the Thyni were being quickly overwhelmed after the fall of Pessinus, it would only be a matter of time before the kingdom was to fall. In fact, Thynus had already fled to the south, where he was raising an army for which to make a counter, thus abandoning the area to defense for the moment.

In this critical moment, Alyattes of the Lydians, invaded from the south, with a large force. The Thyni army attempted to resist the advance near the Hermanus river and were defeated decisively. Lydian forces funneled north into the region with its large conscript infantry columns and small detachments of Lydian cavalry forces. Thynus refused to relent however as his situation deteriorated, yet his advancing age got the better of him and the elderly king passed died whilst on campaign to break the siege of Dorylaion in the north. His succession became somewhat inflamed by a short internal crisis, leading to a duel between two brothers, a certain Thynus and Arula. Arula slew his elder brother in combat and assumed authority. The beginning of his rule was an inauspicious date, as his ascension in the month of May corresponded with the fall of Dorylaion and the flight of the Thyni royal caste south in flight from the city.

The Submission of Arola

Upon the fall of the capitol to the Bithynians, the royal caste and the army of the Thyni, surrendered much assumptions of power. However, in the western sections of the kingdom, the Thyni resisted the Bithynian attacks, while in the central plains of Phrygia, the three foes were conquering the entire area. In the month of July, the Lydians engaged the Skudran horizontal alliance in the north. The conflicts were fearsome across the front, as the armies battled over constantly changing borders, as enemies fell back before the Lydian advance and fortresses fell under the weight of the Lydian sieges. However, in the field of pitched battles, the Lydian army was the lesser, as proven when Alyattes becoming overconfident, sent Kuripizi north to take Pessinus with a force of 30,000. The army was decisively defeated in a pitched battle to the south of Pessinus and forced to retreat in disgrace. Gaining a momentum, the Odyrssian forces surged southward attempting to make gains, whilst the Bithynians remained stalled against the Thyni in Myasia.

A confluence of events led to an unorthodox submission and alliance. Arola sent word seeking submission to Alyattes in the month of August 584 BCE. Alyattes lacking the zeal of his father, accepted a vassalage over the Thyni, who understandably were relieved at the lowering of heat in the war.

A reason for this decision is of a few parts. On one hand, the Thyni were in an unwinnable situation. Submission to someone was inevitable. Of the options to submit, there was only the Odryssians, Bithynians and the Lydians. The Odryssi and Bithynians had formed ablood pact to eradicate the Thyni royal caste and subsume their tribe in 585 BCE and such agreement with them was impossible. As such, the Thyni submitted to the Lydians, despite the great difficulty that came with this.

Arola was forced to travel in person with a collection of allies to the Lydian forward army position in southern Phrygia. There, Arola was forced to genuflect and prostate to Alyattes, who proclaimed:



“The God Teshub looked kindly upon the Skudra lord, Arola. He was submitted before me, King Alyattes, the Son of God. Let those whoa re recalcitrant learnt he ways of the humble Arola, for the King of the Lands is bountiful in mercy, shouldst thy heart burst with regret, return yet unto I and find safekeeping under the storage-house of Sardis.”

Gaining the submission of the Thyni came with a resumption of offensive manuevers against the Skudra to the north and a returning momentum. Lydian forces also launched a series of raids into Lukkawanda, attempting to inspire revolt. This raid however was defeated by a local Lukka militia, fearing the return of Lydian occupation and conscription. Lydian fortunes once more fell as Alyattes led a large campaign alongside the Thyni to retake Dorylaion. There, the Bithynians defeated the Lydo-Skudran army outside Dorylaion and drove them well south in the month of September 584 BCE.

After the major defeat of Alyattes, a lull in conflict occurred for the remainder of 584 BCE and into 583 BCE. Both forces lacked the resources to maintain such large and grandiose campaigns. However, the two sides maintained a series of raids, small battles and open hostility between the two and slightly changing series of fronts in Phrygia, which was rapidly becoming a wasteland of habitation. Thousands had already fled both south and north, fleeing any way that gave reprieve of the total wars in the central plains.

The Lull of 583 BCE and the Invasion of Arabia by Sinbanipal

The lull of 583 BCE, as it set in, sat firmly in the favor of the Lydians, as their larger soldier reserve began to show its benefits. Both skudra were forced to permit much of their armies to return to till the lands. Though, the royal caste of the Bithynians and Odryssians remained in open conflict along the borderlands between the two alliance spheres. The situation throughout 583 BCE, would remain a sort of smallscale war between the two spheres, who were previously unable to break each other.

In the south, Sinbanipal prepared his grand invasion of Arabia, specifically to conquer the Ahsa and the lands beyond. At the advice of his court, Sinbanipal took only an army of some 10,000 warriors for the campaign and permitting the Southern Protectorate to provide greater numbers as needed. The Assyrian army embarked upon ships being created and were taken a short distance to Dilmun where the majority of the army was on march too, from the city of Eridu south to Hagaru (Gerrha). Sinbanipal arrived with a force of 900 elites in Dilmun and performed a great sacrifice to the Great God Sin:

“The Great King made a solemn ceremony in the Lands of Sin in the state of Dilmun. The dignitaries of the city were in awe at his splendor, surely the Great Gods smiled upon our Executor for his glory was upon display for the world to view there in Dilmun.” -Kalhu Codex

Sinbanipal ordered and deliberated alongside Sin-Gishru, the High Priest of Dilmun, as to the nature of his campaign. The land of Ahsa to the south, referred to as Ahzaminu in the recent court documents. Likewise, Sinbanipal deliberated upon the situation in the famed land of Magan, even further south and east of Magan. Their discussion was recorded in a legend known as the ‘Epic of Dilmun,’ which in an epic tone, with heavy romance, depicted the arrival and journey to Dilmun of Sinbanipal;

“Sayeth thus, Sin-Gishru, Priest of Sin, the glorious illumination: ‘Great King, tell me thus, go forth and make battle, send the men for which to prosecute the nations and sayeth thus wilt I, yes sire for the journey unto Duranki is paved by the hands of those whose tongue utters YES!

Replieth thus, sayeth the Great King, Lord of the Governors, Sinbanipal: ‘Might thee, O Priest of Sin provide forth the information for which to engage the nations? Lands far fromst the eyes hath conspired upon the Lands of Assur, they are a most recalcitrant bunch. Their fortunes are in a bad way and we make war upon those whose conspiracy races forth. Troops less is my requirement, yet required of thee, is the intelligence for which to maintain an operation and successful conquest.’

Upon such message, the priest quivered… He took a great breath, for his speech was to of long note and he gathered himself. The Great King waited expectedly, for an oration of old was to eb made:

‘Great King, I, a priest of Sin am privy to a great many wonders, lessons of the history, with which the Great god Sin hath made be inclined to listen, hear and attest to. His Lordship, the Heavenly Illuminator madeth my eyes for the task of reading and he instructed me in the talents which were unknown to me prior. He ledeth me through the passages of time, a Bridge Eternal, for as the phases of Sin change upon the face of the Heavens, doth to the changes of man find their origin in He is of the Changing Ways. Whence a boy born to Shamash without talents of pen, doth he become changed by the Gods, so too am I changed and made appropriate, a tool of use, a vehicle of transportation. In the same motion that the Great God Sin made my eyes appropriate for the pen, so too hath He deemed my tongue worthy to speak.



The message for thee, is to behold that that the Great God Sin hath deemed you to be worthy, for the Changer of Ways can create and mold as he wishes, surely, He is the Bridge anew. A Great King is the instrument of His Divine will, for such, the Great God fashions him and repairs him for the task at hand. Surely, the Great King hath a memory, for those whose fame exceeds amongst the ancestors are those whose names resounds as Gods, made from what was formerly a man. Sin hath deemed ye, O Great King, to be the vehicle for which he may be known. Take heart in the battle amongst men, for thee are to be a God amongst them!

Question thyself, Great King, for which reason hath the images appeared to thee, the crescent of Sin? Great King, Sin hath empowered thee for a mission, a glorious journey, for the road taken by sea, is the bridge unto Divinity, for as Naram-Sin made a transit to Dilmun upon his travels to Divinity, so too hath ye, O Lord of the Universe. Praise the Great King, who hath Transformed, from man, to Divinity!’

In this short epic, that also possessed this discussion, we find the first example of overt a text attempting to display the divinity of a monarch and connecting it closely to the Greta God Sin in explicit terms. This Epic was composed around 578 BCE in the city of Ur and was deemed as a deep blasphemy by most of the traditional Akkadian scribal class. Yet, the epic remained a common series of terms. It too, was transformed by 575 BCE into a poetic version, that was spoken to crowds in the city of Ur. Thus, spreading a myth of the great travel to Dilmun by ship by Sinbanipal, with a culminating arrival and revealing by Sin-Gishru. In the main body of the Epic, Sinbanipal travels by boat to the city and there, he is assailed by sea monsters, by pirates, by enemies from the sky and so forth. Each time, a crescent moon appears before Sinbanipal and empowers him with a certain glow, that he uses to dispel the enemies and calm the waves. Upon his journey, the Great King displays his humility by seeking still conquest on behalf of the Great Gods, instead of bragging of his exploits at sea. Sin-Gishru, the priest of Sin, thus pleased, bestows upon him the truth as to the journey that he partook.

Regardless, of the truth of this discussion and the journey, this is the most important aspect gleamed from this journey to Dilmun. Seemingly, nothing of martial importance occurred in the discussion, for Sinbanipal exited Dilmun in the month of September 584 BCE with his army. For the matter of his campaign, there was three objectives according to the Nippur Correspondence. Firstly, the destruction of the Ahzamanu, which had resisted the lordship of Assyria. Secondly, the acquisition of information on Magan. Thirdly, the subjugation of the Tha’mud kingdom of the Hijaz and the acquisition of tribute from any they encounter.

The Kingdom of Tha’mud

South of the Southern Protectorate was the kingdom of Tha’mud. It was a large tribal confederation controlling most of the Hijaz. It was also a new entity in the region relatively, only existing in truth from the 8th century BCE onward. Its main staying power was the transit of the inland trade of goods northward and southward. Their capitol was theoretically the city of Yahtrib, some 100 km south of the Southern Protectorate. Since the founding of the Southern Protectorate and the rise of the Saba’ hegemony, the Tha’mud found themselves in a difficult predicament. Wedged between two powerful states, the kingdom became relatively submissive. In prior eras, the Tha’mud had played an important role in the empowerment of the Qedar state, its larger northern neighbor in waging war upon Assyria. This led to multiple campaigns by Assyrian kings against the Tha’mud and the Tha’mud allies, the Nabtu, the Qedar and the Lihyani of Dedanu.

However, after the Assyrian civil war during the reign of Assurbanipal, the Tha’mud had never been brought back under the fold. After the establishment of the Southern Protectorate, the Tha’mud moved their capitol city of primary habitation to the city of Tayf, near Makkah. This signaled a new fearful attitude towards Assyria, after a long period of staunch resistance.

Tha’mud had towed the line of appeasement, nevertheless, never provoking Assyria, sintead focusing upon southern political matters. Namely, supporting the Ma’in cities against the Saba’ and migrants from the Nejd, who were migrating as warrior bands and travelling nomads into the Ma’in lands.

In terms of their governance and cultural framework, traditional Tha’mud kings were elected by a tribal council of the elder clansmen. These kings took names resembling those of the Southern Arabian realms or the Qedari. Their lords were not exceptional in titles or authority. The king more than anything, however, was the provider of authority and safety to the trade routes and the protector of tribal harmony between the different often feuding clans. Adhering to taboos, of respecting grazing lands, enforcing the traditions on vendetta and guarding the urban wealth, was the main duties of Tha’mud kings.

Previously, it may be said geopolitically, that the Tha’mud were moving to a Saba’ sphere of influence. However, after the collapse of Karabil-Watar II’s hegemony and the rise of his son Samah’ali-Zarah and his failure, diminished this role. Saba in-fact was experiencing new leadership. Samah’ali-Zarah had a short reign of only 7 years (592-585 BCE. He perished in battle against the Banu Khayash, who though slaying the king of Saba, were defeated in battle.

As of 585-584 BCE, the region of Yemen was once more in chaos, after some 3 years of peace. The arrival of the Banu-Khayash and associate subordinate clans threw the Ma’in into chaos. The Ma’in cities of Kaminahu and Haramum were both subjugated and turned into vassals in the years 587 and 586 BCE. The Banu-Khayash themselves forming what the Yemeni states referred to as the state of Khayash, moved their residence to the region of Hajjah and Jashaan, to the west of the Ma’in cities. This Khayash state then engaged in wars with the Saba’ kingdom and the Western League along the southwest of Yemen. The Khayash were defeated near Saba’ but managed to slay the king of the Saba and gained a morale boost from their victory. The battle led to a renewed Kahayash expansion southwestward. In rapid succession, the Khayash under their king, named Abdu-l-Hubal ibn Kibal al-Khayash (servant of Hubal [god of war in northern Arabia], son of Kibal and of the Khayash), captured Zabir and Zulmum from the Saba’ and the Western alliance. The Khayash realm, resembled a vast series of tributaries, paying tribute to the lords of the north as the Khayash came to call themselves.

The new Sheban king, took the name Karabil-Watar III in 585 BCE. His first two years saw defeats against the Khayash from 585-583 BCE. In 582 BCE, Karabil-Watar III managed a defense of his realm against a 582 Khayash invasion and reaffirmed an alliance with the Hadrumat to the east and proceeded to maintain his rule over Mar’ib and Timma. Then in late 582 BCE, an unprecedented alliance formed between Sheba and the Western Alliance, a coalition of allied cities, Dhuban, Ma’far and Shargarab. Thus, forming in 581 BCE, was three distinct blocs of power in Yemen. The Khayash state and tributaries in the north, Sheba, the Western Coalition and Hadrahmut in the center and the feuding Awsan God-kings of the far south.

The campaign proceeds

Sinbanipal split his campaign into two distinct movements. With Head Eunuch Sin-Shi’eretu, Sinbanipal gave him a force of some 3,000 warriors, who were sent to attack the Ahzimanu and then Sinbanipal would march from behind with the main force.

The campaign saw initial successes, Sin-shi-eretu defeated a detachment of Ahzimanu warriors and proceeded to capture various periphery oasis. Once the first lines were cleared, the main force swept southward, conquering the oasis of Ahzimanu. The lords of the oasis, had already sensed the impending doom after defeating Adad-apal-Duranki, only due to his running out of supply. In due time, the fall of their oasis strongholds would occur. The main clans thus, submitted to Sinbanipal after only a short series of battles across the oasis in the region. Sinbanipal decreed thus in the oasis, a vassal in the oasis of Ahizamanu and appointed a qepu to the region, who was to report to the High Priest of Dilmun. Furthermore, Sinbanipal, ordered the secondary clan of the oasis, the Tamu clan to be the appointed King of Ahizamanu and he took the name Sin-Lahaashu (Sin Whispered to him). This was an interesting change in Assyrian vassal appointment in regard to Arabia. That is, appointed kings were enforced to take a formal Akkadian name, at least in Arabia. This all was completed by the year 583 BCE.

The immense success of Sinbanipal began in 584 BCE, and he remained in the oasis region and travelled to the nearby western deserts but running low on supplies, the Assyrian army called off the transit to discover Magan. However, orders were made in the return to Hagaru in late 583 BCE, for an explorer party to be sent east across the sea in discovery of new lands. Thus, in December of 583 BCE, Sinbanipal marched toward Tayma in the Southern Protectorate and from there, south into the Tha’mud lands.

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Is he taking a northern route through Duma/Adummatu?
Yes, he is essentially backtracking north and then crossing over friendly and better supplied lands. The army lacks seemingly the ability or wish to cross the centre of the ‘Nejd.’ After touring and dedicating in the Protectorate, he wishes to travel and capture Yahtrib and enforce tribute on Tha’mud, whence after, he will match back north towards Edom and to Jerusalem and then towards Egypt. A long campaign indeed.
 
Yes, he is essentially backtracking north and then crossing over friendly and better supplied lands. The army lacks seemingly the ability or wish to cross the centre of the ‘Nejd.’ After touring and dedicating in the Protectorate, he wishes to travel and capture Yahtrib and enforce tribute on Tha’mud, whence after, he will match back north towards Edom and to Jerusalem and then towards Egypt. A long campaign indeed.
The lands he is traveling through are hostile enough as it is. As long as he is in friendly territory, it should still be worth the detour not to cross the Najd and get lost, miss an oasis, or run out of water or lose horses etc..... How well travelled was that route anyway? We’re there even trails? Anyway, the detour should be a good opportunity to tour the area and to refresh everyone’s memory in the area of what kind of army the Assyrians are capable of fielding. Because the Egyptians sound like they need some reminding. Then again, they did just have that war with the Moabites.

By the way much is this going to cost and how is he financing this? Because no matter how great his conquests, if he raises taxes enough, I can see him getting into trouble.
 
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Yes, he is essentially backtracking north and then crossing over friendly and better supplied lands. The army lacks seemingly the ability or wish to cross the centre of the ‘Nejd.’ After touring and dedicating in the Protectorate, he wishes to travel and capture Yahtrib and enforce tribute on Tha’mud, whence after, he will match back north towards Edom and to Jerusalem and then towards Egypt. A long campaign indeed.
He's truly circling around the edges of the known world. Which, as you noted earlier, quite matches what all Assyrian kings had been supposed to do for many centuries, but now on a truly unprecedented scale, far beyond what even Naram-Sin's wildest dreams contemplated.

A note on the Thamud. Whe really know very little about them, except this must have been a people in the general area of Hejaz or whereabouts, who presumably spoke a Central Semitic language, possibly one associated with what modern scholars call "Thamudic B" inscriptions, some of whom do indeed name this group IIRC (It is however likely that Thamudic B was also used by groups other than the Thamud; the name is entirely conventional). The language(s) of the "Thamudic" inscriptions is hard to decipher and usually thought to be somewhat distantly related to Arabic, but likely not as an early form of it (unlike the language of other inscriptions, usually termed "Safaitic" and "Hismaic", mostly found to their northwest, which are now considered to represent old dialects of Arabic- note that Hismaic was also called "Thamudic E" in older scholarship, Arabian epigraphy is really an evolving and complex field).
I did not check, but there are scattered referenced to Thamud in some late Akkadian texts. I like how you portay them as a large nomadic/mercantile "confederacy" which must have handled much of the caravan traffic between Ma'in and Saba on one side, and the Qedar/the Levant at the other end; the simple fact that their memory survived to be understandable to the much later first listeners of the Qur'anic revelation suggests that "Thamud" must have been important, perhaps locally hegemonic, at some point.
I do not remember any direct mention of Yathrib being their capital, is that mentioned in any Akkadian text? If not, would still be a logical notion to go with for the TL, we know Yathrib to have been a caravan center of significance already around this time.
 
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It’s well worth the detour not to cross the Najd and get lost or run out of water or lose horses etc..... In fact, the detour should be a good opportunity to tour the area and to refresh everyone’s memory in the area of what kind of army the Assyrians are capable of fielding. Because the Egyptians sound like they need some reminding. Then again, they did just have that war with the Moabites.

By the way much is this going to cost?
Well, the army is not particularly large that he sent out. It is of less expense by far than the campaign that fell the Medes. Nevertheless, the Assyrian state has a fair bit of wealth through its looting and pillaging. Though, you are correct, some of the funds are straining, but the situation is better than past Assyrian kings who needed ready treasury amounts for which to wage massive campaigns. Assyrian forces at this moment, are more operating along a model wherein a skeleton army is formed and then arrives and takes the local soldiery and solidifies its army into larger sizes. The soldiers in the territories are Assyrian garrisons, vassal levies and deportees, slaves under control of the Assyrian monarchy or by the Karduniash monarchy. Assyria also possesses unlike many monarchies of the era, extensive state monopolies, especially of strategic resources such as iron, copper, tin (when it comes in), horses and so forth.
 
He's truly circling around the edges of the known world. Which, as you noted earlier, quite matches what all Assyrian kings had been supposed to do for many centuries, but now on a truly unprecedented scale, far beyond what even Naram-Sin's wildest dreams.

A note on the Thamud. Whe really know very little about them, except this must have been a people in the general area of Hejaz or whereabouts, who presumably spoke a Central Semitic language, possibly one associated with what modern scholars call "Thamudic B" inscriptions, some of whom do indeed name this group IIRC (It is however likely that Thamudic B was also used by groups other than the Thamud; the name is entirely conventional). The language(s) of the "Thamudic" inscriptions is hard to decipher and usually thought to be somewhat distantly related to Arabic, but likely not as an early form it (unlike the language of other inscriptions, usually termed "Safaitic" and "Hismaic", mostly found to their northwest, which are now considered to represent old dialects of Arabic- note that Hismaic was also called "Thamudic E" in older scholarship, Arabian epigraphy is really an evolving and complex field).
I did not check, but there are scattered referenced to Thamud in some late Akkadian texts. I like how you portay them as a large nomadic/mercantile "confederacy" which must have handled much of the caravan traffic between Ma'in and Saba on one side, and the Qedar/the Levant at the other end; the simple fact that their memory survived to be understandable to the much later first listeners of the Qur'anic revelation suggests that "Thamud" must have been important, perhaps locally hegemonic, at some point.
I do not remember any direct mention of Yathrib being their capital, is that mentioned in any Akkadian text? If not, would still be a logical notion to go with for the TL, we know Yathrib to have been a caravan center of significance already around this time.
According to my interpretation of the Assyrian texts, the Tha'mud capitol is implied to be Yahtrib, as they are said to have captured the city and thus 'subjugated them' and returned it to them as a vassal state. Certainly though, we are working on flimsy information for Tha'mud, yet the Assyrians dislike the concept of ambiguity in terms of capitols. They likely would fabricate a capitol city of a people, if there is any city or settlement to be framed as such.

Yes, this is my understanding also. The Tha'mud must have been immensely important, they appear in Akkadian texts during the reign of king Sargon II in direct or full terms. From there, they would maintain a memory in the region as far as the 8th century CE. Evidently, the oral and written histories of the Arabs in the Hijaz, were a bit more advanced than previous scholars give credit for.

Regarding the journey of Sinbanipal, there are some points. Naram-Sin, for his technological capabilities, was making campaigns enormously long. Supposedly, Naram-Sin was campaigning as far away as Anshan and Marhashi, a limit that exceeds any of the early Bronze Age campaigns that I know of. Perhaps the image of some more ancient kingdom in the very early period exceeded these feats, but it is definite that as a battle-king, Naram-Sin is possibly unparalleled for his time. Though, by Sinbanipal's time, most of his records have been broken. The records as current are as such:

East: A tie between Assurhadon (681-669 BCE), Sinsharishkun (627-603 BCE) and Sinbanipal (603-??? BCE) that being somewhere around Parthia and Persia. Beyond Media.
South: Naram-Sin (2190-2154 BCE), that being Magan civilization in Oman or the modern area of Sharjah in the modern nation of UAE.
North: Tiglath-Pileser I (1116-1076 BCE), that being the northern reaches of Hatti.
West: Tiglath-Pileser I (1116-1076 BCE), that being beyond the Halys River.
Southwest: Assurhadon (681-669 BCE), that being the The First Cataract of the Nile, beyond Thebes.

In other words, the records are difficult to beat, surely. Can you imagine the distance that Sinbanipal can move that will set new records?
 
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In other words, the records are difficult to beat, surely. Can you imagine the distance that Sinbanipal can move that will set new records?
Well, the shores of the Aegean in Western Anatolia seem quite within his reach.
Also, in the event on another campaign against Colchis and deep into their lands, maybe the Caucasus (Mount Elbrus?). The Second cataract perhaps, though he does lack motive for now.
And of course, the area of Makkah/Ta'if to the South.
Magan is also definitely on the radar now, Sinbanipal is in a good position to at least compare with his record-setting predecessors in most directions even though perhaps he will not exceed them everywhere (not by being there in person anyway, which counts a lot for traditional Akkadian kingship).
 
I meant, not climbing to the mountaintop, just reaching the landmark.
Considering the love for Assyrian climbs, they may at least ascend some parts of the mountains of the north once area has been more readily subdued. In the event that Assyria is less able to wage constant wars, ritualized mountain climbing, river crossing and so forth may become mandatory.
 
The Lydian nobility seem to be having a very bad time of it in this time line. I wonder how this new populist divine monarchy will fare in the long run. It seems to be succeeding for now. I notice that the terms and religious rhetoric with which Arola submits is rather similar to the way that Assyria has been requiring submission. Is this direct influence?

You have mentioned many times that an emphasis on the divinity of the Assyrian King comes hand in hand with an emphasis on the god Sin and this is proving true in this time line. Why is this? I would have though Ashur would be a more natural fit as the King of the gods.
 
The Lydian nobility seem to be having a very bad time of it in this time line. I wonder how this new populist divine monarchy will fare in the long run. It seems to be succeeding for now. I notice that the terms and religious rhetoric with which Arola submits is rather similar to the way that Assyria has been requiring submission. Is this direct influence?

You have mentioned many times that an emphasis on the divinity of the Assyrian King comes hand in hand with an emphasis on the god Sin and this is proving true in this time line. Why is this? I would have though Ashur would be a more natural fit as the King of the gods.
Yes! The Lydian monarchy is adopting aspects of the Assyrian oath taking, in regards to submission. Yet combining it with the more expansive Hittite vassalage model that Lydia is familiar with, wherein vassals are overtly legally required to protect vassals. Even in 580 BCE, Assyria has no obligation for which to protect vassals in war. Only that they would lose prestige if they did not.

Lydian nobles in the south are doing poorly. Northern and Sardis nobles, are still in power. Alyattes is an improvement from his father in regards to maintaining this style of government due to his willingness to compromise on both sides and adapt to the situation as it changes. Sadyattes was driven by his gamble to maintain power over the country and to also remove blame for failures onto minorities, merchants and nobles. Alyattes keeps the former and removes the latter aside for when necessary. Lydia though is doing fairly poorly all things considered. It has lost most of its lands and is in a desperate war. Nevertheless, Lydia is building a uniquely durable and warlike country that might cause great harm later.

How do you feel regarding the three Thracian kingdoms in the region?

On the point of Sin, yes there is a connection. As to the reason why, we must understand the nature of the Great Gods. Fundamentally, the Great Gods are entities who consider humans beneath them, lowly and servants/slaves whose only redeeming quality is their ability to worship and the drumbeat of Ilawela within them. The idea that from among them comes a god, is an act of presumption on their part, in fact one cannot become a true god without the leave of the Great Gods. Tammuz became a God due to the love Ishtar held for him and she gave him the divinity of another and she grasped him and pulled him upward. This is due to the character of Ishtar in general, the great lover.

Assur, is the Great God who exemplifies submission of man to himself and of kingly might. He has no respect for individual human deeds, they are all tiresome and useless to him unless directed by him. Assyrian priests and scribes often in the days of yore, speak of the way in which Assyrian kings had no deeds, that their deeds were only those of Assur and or the Great Gods in total. The Great King was little more than the vehicle for Assur's total dominion on earth. Note the God of the Biblical Old Testament, how all acts of the Hebrews are but the glory of Hashem, that he is their king and the one who wins all of their battles. So too was Assur. Most Assyriologists explicitly note the similarity between the Hebrew God with Assur in terms of his lordship over the people, as so similar as to not have had some level of cross mingling.

Such a God would never raise a human to the status of god. Nor would most of the Great Gods recognize the acts of man or his mentality to lead one to the path of divinity. However, one such Great God, does have a mentality and character that lends itself to deification. The Great God Sin, is called the Changer of Ways, the Bridge and the Illuminator or He Who Reveals Truth. As the phases of the moon change, so too does Sin, who enjoys the changing nature of reality and of men, both the fall, rise and recovery. Sin is there to cause it all and or assist in it. Presumably, the esoteric message here, is that Sin, is the entity whose nature promotes the creation of a god and relishes in the ascension of humans to higher forms. He too, is the only deity who exemplifies explicitly change as a concept. Change may mean the shifting colors of the seaons or day and night, but it also may mean the change from man to god.

Naram-Sin, the greatest example of deification, made it clear, that the Great God Sin made him a God, that he was transformed. In his famous icon, Naram-Sin is depicted as a God standing above men and grasping the hair of men, carrying them in bundles. He despite this, stares to the sky, where a great crescent moon appears, symbolizing Sin. The implication, that Sin is the supreme God or at least the god whom he recognizes as the one whose power he is fixated. It is too Naram-Sin and other kings who held Sin in the highest esteem that most thoroughly embody a secular king.

Naram-Sin (2190-2154 BCE) Akkad
Sharkalishari (2154-2130 BCE) Akkad
Ur-Nammu (2047-2030 BCE) Ur
Shulgi (2037-1982 BCE) Ur
Amar-Sin (1982-1973 BCE) Ur
Shu-Sin (1973-1964 BCE) Ur
Ibbi-Sin (1964-1940 BCE) Ur
Sinnacherib (705-681 BCE) Assyria
Sinsharishkun (627-603 BCE) atl Assyria
Naboo-Na'id (556-539 BCE) otl Chaldean dynasty of Babylon

Are all examples of kings who either implied a certain deification process or approximated to such and used Sin to do so. They are the only real examples of such in Sumero-Akkadian history.
 
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Sinbanipal attacks Thamud and the Passing of Maniuqappu.
583-577 BCE



The Tour through the Southern Protectorate 583-582 BCE



Sinbanipal travelled north in December of 583 BCE, he arrived at Hagaru and spent a month therein. There, he ordered a relief made that was finished in 581 BCE, with the following wording:

“I am Sinbanipal, the Brother King, Devotee of Duranki and Thrasher of Thousands. I hath placed in the Land of Ahzamanu, the fear and aura of the Great Gods, doth they reward me thus with support. My armies travel south, they travel north, they move west and move east, whence there is rebellion against MY Lordship, so too must my armies emerge with mace and shield; horse and bow.”

The relief, would be noted for displaying a sort of renewed personal aggrandizement by the Great King, yet keeping the ‘brother king’ motif that had been in vogue since 589 BCE. Nevertheless, such a relief was popular in the south, where deification was more popular among the settling Akkadian populace and the Arab peoples, who understood power and might more than the nuanced conception of being a governor of the Great Gods.

After the month stay, Sinbanipal departed Hagaru in February of 582 BCE and proceeded to march north and then westward toward the major towns and settlements of the Southern Protectorate. Kanapalsuhu-Marduk, the Protector General in Tayma marched with a band of Arab tribal elders, chiefs and nobles to meet with Sinbanipal on his march. Generally, Arab Bedouin bands heard of Sinbanipal’s entry and moved to the edges of hills, plains and so forth to watch the passing of the Great King. Sibanipal gave no rimutu to these peoples as he passed, preferring to simply display his royal elegance unto the Arabs with whom he passed. In several Qedar villages, that he passed, the Protectorate had sent agents into the villages beforehand, rapidly teaching the populace correct procedure in prostration and that whence the Greta King arrives, they would be obliged to immediately place their bodies upon the ground and head sunken to the ground or floor. This was important, for if the Arab populaces did not conduct themselves in an Akkadian manner, the Southern Protector General may be seen to be negligent in his duties.

Sinbanipal passed through thus and witnessed the servile tones about him and proceeded with haste, satisfied with he devotion given him. He met Kanapalsuhu-Marduk at the town of Duma, one of the larger settlements in the Protectorate. There, the Protector General and made a festival for the king and proceeded to forgive debts in the city and proclaimed free entry to the city without customs duty for as long as Sinbanipal was present. Alongside Kanapalsuhu-Marduk, was the Arab chiefs and dignitaries, not simply for the pomp, but this was his army. The Protectorate had over its foundation 50 years prior, developed a fearsome army combining Arab customs with Akkadian organization. As per the traditions set by Puzur-Adad, the prior Protector general, Arab chiefs were given clan titles known as ‘Designated Clan Leaders.’

Designated Clan Leaders were heads of clans who had military and economic power and were prestigious amongst the people in the region. These clans were all Nabtu or Qedarite origin, with a preference to the Nabtu. Likewise, each of the clan leaders, were given important military and bureaucratic titles by lineage, inheriting the titles upon ascent. These titles of inheritance were usually the titles of turpan or general or the title of enforcer (Kadannunu). Stipulated within such designations was that the Protector general would give regular rimutu to the clans that were loyal and the greater number of feats and or soldier counts would garner greater rimutu. Arab subject generals as they are termed in Karduniash, would then be permitted to gather their own personal armies from their revenues and would be obliged to make war upon the request of the Protector General or their higher tier lieges, the Kings of Karduniash or Assyria.

However, there was always issues with the system. Early in the Protectorates experiments, Arab clans simply rose armies of tribal levies, often without any trapping of a modern Iron Age army. Resembling raiding parties and peasant rabble to the Assyrian instructors. As such, a series of training regiments were developed with which to impart new skills to the Arab clans. These skills were buttressed by the importation of horses, armors from Karduniash, heavy lances, saddles, boots, pants helmets, gloves and instructors mainly from Kardunaish and Carchemish.

Akkadian instructors created a tradition in Arabia called the ‘Southern style’ whereby they dressed in armor according to the desert heat and to the tastes of their Arab subjects. This included the combination of light pants with laces, laced boots, a scale armor breast plate over a long sleeve wool tunic (cotton is not known to Assyria or the Arabs fully yet), gloves, a matching set of scaled shoulder pads in a U shape and a Scale back plate. For the head, an Iron helmet was chosen, that reached pinnacle point and under the helmet was a wet turban. Arab chiefs readily adopted this style early on for their elites, and combined it with ever longer turban styles, permitting their turban tails to drift far to the knees or to the ankles in some cases for particularly aggrandizing chiefs. Additionally, all in the armies of the south, regardless of their style, painted their armor a light tan color with clan or origin distinction made by a bracelet of copper attached to the right wrist of a warrior, wherein a clay tablet was placed with a code designation in Akkadian cuneiform. Each of these systems, both the painting and the wrist designation, allowed the Protectorate to delineate between nonregulated armies such as raiders, Bedouin and so forth and actual forces under his canopy.

This Southern Style though, was somewhat disliked by bureaucrats from Karduniash. Karduniash soldiers who lived in in the region were given small turbans to wear beneath their helmets, making much tension arise in Tima amongst Karduniash soldiery. Namely due to the styles in Karduniash surrounding hair and beards. Karduniash men in the army, shaved their chests, armpits and arms, but would never shave their hair or beards, only trimming such to shapes and styles. If a man could not grow a sufficient beard, he would have completely the face, hence removing scraggly beards or not full beards or moustaches. Such large trimmed and ornate beards and hair, were restricted in prominence by turbans and other types of head or face covering garments, angering some of the traditional models of warriors in Karduniash society.

As such, around 594 BCE, Puzur-Adad made codes for the issue. Arab soldiers were enforced to wear turbans and so forth. However, Akkadian soldiers from Karduniash soldiers would not be required to cover their hair by anything aside from helmets. Likewise, any deportee soldiers were enforced strict codes to wear the styles of their prior culture, where possibly. In other words, if a deportee is from Anatolia, he cannot wear a heavy wool hat and tunic with thick boots but would be required to wear light materials and such. The most common deportees from amongst the Southern Protectorate were Philistines, Itu, Cimmerians, Greeks and Scythians. Philistinians and Itu were used primarily as garrisons and police in Tima, Duma and some other towns. They too, were used to load and cart luggage and provide security to the Protector General in the Protector barracks of Tima. Neither were permitted to wear pants or armor above normal, to designate their lowly rank. Itu often wore a skirt above the knee in the Bronze Age style, a short sleeve shirt and a scale breastplate with strap if of infantry. The majority of Itu were archers, wearing only the skirt and often without a shirt and only carrying a bow and wearing sandals. Cimmerians and Scythians by contrast, wore full sleeved wool shirts, pants, boots and normal lamellar armor. However, both adopted a new style of hat, namely a tall cone hat, with arms extended out to the side ending in a thatched brim of sorts, with the areas between the arms kept together by reeds tied between the arms. This was intended to be a means by which to remove the necessity to wear turbans for protecting fair skin as the Scythians and Cimmerians held dislike of adopting the styles of foreigners.

Regardless, the Great King met with his subjects at Duma and subjected himself to the festivals. Therein, the people gained a taste for Assyrian festival, wherein the Great King did a ceremonial chariot race through the city with one of lieutenants after which a ceremonial king of Tha’mud was set up as an effigy. A group of Itu played a role as the soldiers of Itu and were ceremonially engaged by the Assyrian lieutenants in duels, upon which the Itu were defeated. After that, the Great King, on chariot, would ride and fire a volley from his chariot, striking the effigy. Then the lieutenants would take the idol effigy and crush it to pieces with hammer and set it ablaze, giving offerings by throwing incense into the pyre. This was the same type of celebration taken prior to campaigns in the Imperial core of Karduniash and Assyria and was the first of its kind in Arabia, a true hallmark! Afterward, Sinbanipal deliberated with his Protector and the Arab generals.

The conversation was very one sided, Sinbanipal and the Akkadian group spoke Akkadian while the Arab delegations could only understand parts and were having to be informed of the proceedings in Aramaic. Regardless, the decision was made by Sinbanipal to make haste to Yahtrib rapidly in the month of April, before heavy summer heat had set on. Likewise, he prepared to push southward and make assurances of Tha’mud submission, even if tribute was made.

For this matter, the Protectorate rose an army to its near limit for the year of 582 BCE , that being 16,000 warriors. This army, alongside Sinbanipal journeyed southward to attack the city of Yahtrib. Envoys were sent earlier to Yahtrib alongside spies, intending to spread dissent. Late April, Sinbanipal arrived near Yahtrib, but saw no signs of human activity, wells were empty and Bedouin were completely gone from the countryside. Once they arrived at Yahtrib, the population seemed to have fled south, however, a small delegation from Tha’mud had arrived to discuss terms with Sinbanipal.

Their offering was to pay a tribute and avoid conflict for the year. After the term of tribute ended, the Tha’mud would no longer pay tributes. Sinbanipal rejected and in a fit of anger, had the Tha’mud delegation grabbed and then flayed alive in the empty city, their flayed skins were then given to Bedouin troops to take to Tima, while the bodies were burned as an offering to Nurgle.

The Tha’mud, who had strategically informed their populace in Yathrib to vacate so as to display fealty to Assyria, hardened their resolve. Electing a Warlord for a time, the Tha’mud general in this case elected was Ka’b ibn Lu’ay who was to lead the confederacy in battle against the Assyrians. Upon his ascent, eh sent his fastest rider south to the Khayash state, to gain from them protection and to inform them of the Assyrian invasion.

The Hijaz Campaign

Sinbanipal led his army from Yahtrib southward through the land, the Tha’mud resisted mightily, attacking supply lines, poisoning wells and setting fire the few grasslands in the area, creating billowing smoke clouds. The Assyrian army however could not be stopped, defeating each enemy incursion attempt, sacking and capturing any settlement that it came upon.

However, in May, matters began to turn worse for the Assyrian army as they reached Makkah. There, the Arab soldiers had conglomerated with a detachment from Khayash and migrant warriors from the Nejd. Without warning, they attacked the Assyrian army with their full force, initiating the Battle of Makka (582 BCE).

The Tha’mud army, used to ritualized combat, dispensed with the formalities of traditional battle and formulated their armies for the attack. The Tha’mud army was made up of camel riders, horsemen with javelins, light infantry with javelins and archers. The camel usage was somewhat unprecedented in the way that the Tha’mud utilized them. Nevertheless, the Tha’mud struck the Assyrian army from the south, while a minor detachment of soldiers from the west marched a short distance from the Assyrians.

The Assyrian army attempted to press the attack, but the fact that Sinbanipal was commanding from the front, as opposed to his usual situation, he hurried the attack and did not pay attention to his right flank. His Arab vassals inspired by the brazenness of His Majesty, pushed the attack seeking glory in the field. The Assyrian force crushed into the Tha;mud army that approached it in a large circular formation. The Assyrians managed to savage the Tha’mud mightily in this round, but the Thamud had sent its force of detached cavalry in the west to crash on the Assyrian backline, attacking the archers and potentially moving north to attack the camp and the baggage train. In haste, Sinbanipal ordered a retreat to save the baggage train. This led to a turning of the tide, as the Thamud pressed their strikes northward, killing hundreds of enemy warriors in the carnage, before they relented and outfitted an envoy to be sent to Yahtrib, where Sinbanipal was fleeing towards.

Once there in late May, Sinbanipal maintained a series of limited incursions on the Tha’mud, raiding their territory and even setting the suburb of Makkah ablaze. Scythian and Cimmerian forces cut deep lanes of destruction across the Hijaz, but the Thamud continued their opposition. Yet, Sinbanipal was in his element, a much better planner than someone in direct battle. However, time was running out and Sinbanipal could not remain here forever. As such, Sinbanipal sent word to the Thamud in Tayf that he would accept a five-year tribute agreement. After which, Assyria would attack again. This was decided so rapidly, as in the first week of May, the Chamberlain of Assyria, Maniuqappu, had become bedridden as of recent and was in a difficult situation.

Nevertheless, Sinbanipal settled a peace treaty with the Thamud, stipulating that the Thamud must resettle Yahtrib and that the city would be transferred to the South Protectorate. Thamud agreed to the treaty, but the confederacy was still defiant. It understood seemingly that it lacked the power to resist the Assyrians for now, but would in time, have the ability to resist, especially with its Kahyash allies to the south.

Sinbanipal Returns North

At the conclusion of the treaty with Thamud, Sinbanipal journeyed north. His army had taken very minimal loses, most of the failure in battle at Makkah, was due to his aggressive intent and the skittish nature of his Deportees whom he placed on the flanks, permitting his centre to be squished from multiple angles. With such low losses, Sinbanipal counted the campaign as a massive success. Upon his arrival in Tima, he decreed victory in the south and finally, took the title of ‘King of the Universe’ and ‘King of the Four Corners.’ Further, he revived a title, known as ‘King of All Breeds/Races’ which he transcribed at the city of Tima in the famous ‘Report to Lady Ishtar of Tima:’

“Greetings of Glad tidings to thee, O Mother of the Universe. I come to report to thee, of the Success in lands afar. My armies have touched at all points, they have reached the many points set by the Family. We have yet to conquer more for the Family, of whom Thee are a Lady of. My forces have stood the test and made the manifold submissive. Surely, I have ascended, taken into bondage all races within the grasp of my lassoes and the wheels of the chariot. Mistress, the Unique Star, Grant a token of Your gratitude and a blessing of your power unto the Kingdom that Knows the Rites, so that we may enact the completion of Duranki in our allotted time!”

Sinbanipal at Tima sent an envoy to meet with the bedridden Maniuqappu, now 81 and deliberate on his succession. However, more pressing was the passing of a monarch in another land. It was the month of September 582 BCE that in Tima, the Pharaoh of Egypt, Psamtik II had passed away and was succeeded by his 24-year-old son, Wahibre. Wahibre of Egypt was seen as a very conciliatory figure and weak. His grandfather, Necho II was known as a fearsome force and a visionary, however he was too aggressive in war. Psamtik II meanwhile, was a ruler who advocated a return to Egyptian might, yet was otherwise willing to compromise with Assyria for the survival of Assyria. Wahibre took the compromising nature of Psamtik II and elevated it immensely. Already, many in the Egyptian army were scorning Wahibre, who in his education phase, was showing an affection to Assyria. Despite this, Wahibre was the favorite of Phoenician merchants, who acted as faction in the Egyptian court at Sais. Advocating a pro-Assyrian outlook for Egypt and a mercantile reconstruction of Egyptian economic life. Other factions included the three Egyptian fractions, the priesthood, the military and the nomes.

Nomes were the provincial governors or pseudo-nobility of Egypt. In the reign of Psamtik I, much of their power had been revoked and denigrated, as such they were exceptionally weak. The Priesthood, was much stronger than the Nomes, but weakened during the reign of Necho II and to a degree in Necho I. Meanwhile, the militarist faction was strong, under Ahmose, the young hero of Egypt as he was being termed by the people of Sais. Each of these had different motives. Nomes wished to assert their ability to control local affairs in the provinces and to activate a more agricultural, anti-mercantile and isolationist Egyptian economy and politick. Priests were much the same on outlook but demanded strict divinity of the King and to rebuff needless expansionism and that the role of the Egyptian army and state was to create a more prosperous Egyptian interior. In contrast to both, the militarist faction sought expansion and military power as the only means to secure the interior.

A final faction, was the Greek factions. These were initially groups that sought to cherry favor in Egypt for the Hellenes, yet now was a strong faction of settlers in Greece. Necho II had invited large numbers of Greek settlers to move to the Nile Delta specifically and set up communities and cities. Over the years, many of these Greek communities had become powerful in the court and also somewhat intermingled with the locals, creating a growing Greco-Egyptian culture in the delta. Their interests were oddly very pro-expansionism and pro-Egyptian power. However, combined was a wish to open Egypt even further to the Hellenic colonization processes of the Mediterranean and a more mercantile economic approach.

Wahibre stood firmly in the camp of the Pro-Assyrian faction and when he ascended the throne, he made it a point to make do submission to Assyria. After dismissing his envoy, Sinbanipal moved to Edom, and then to Beersheba where he met with King Yehu-Ahaz of Judah, who was given 100 slaves from Arabia as a gift. Yehu-Ahaz returned the favor by ceremonially offering his army to Sinbanipal for his campaign against Egypt. Kanisratu-Balutu-Assur, also sent his Scythian division, now under a certain Saruke, the son of Ashkwarpa, who passed in 583 BCE, the chief of the Scythian tribe of Mari, which was called itself Tribe Shimatsuma, a Scythian rendering of their new homeland, that of the Shuhum.

With this army, Sinbanipal marched to the Land of Turquoise, or the Sinai with a herald sent to Sais. The documents read as follows:



“Greetings, King of the Egypt, Lord of the Nile. Sayeth thus, that you are pleased to hear the words of Great King, whose wish is to take you into his confidence for a word….

It is of note that your forefathers are kings by the will of my forefathers. Evoke the memory of the fathers whom you have relation, regard them thus, that they are the children appointed by the hand of my fathers. My Great predecessor Assurhadon, Assurbanipal and so forth, doeth much in the Land of the Nile. Appointing kings unto your people for the sake of peace and the completion of the Divine Justice. Your grandfather, Necho II, was a perfidious man, whose talents for failure in battle is only exceeded by his treachery. I took him to task in battle and made assured his submission. His successor, your father, Psamtik II did right by the commands of the Great Gods and slew the captor of Egypt, Necho II and set about to create a peace with the Universe that surrounds him.

Ponder thus, his inequity, opine what fault hath he hath endowed upon thee that my letter is written to you instead of another. It is precise, while Psamtik II made amends with the Land of Piety, he had failed to prove his submission fully. Which can be made only through the agreement to not enter alliances aside with myself. Egypt is a small and weak country compared to mine. Know thee well, mark it upon thy heart, that the Kingdom of Assur hath spread unto far lands, that the Medes have been destroyed, that Lydia is destroyed, that the Arabs are conquered, that Elam in mine and that Colchis is subdued. Know that we may strike at any point.

Ask of you thus, we sayeth that you rebuke your allies beyond the sea of whom we have learned of and seek friendship under the Canopy of My State and hence enjoin for yourself and your folk, a peace. If ye shall submit to this, I shall not request of thee tribute for an allotted time, upon which, my envoys shall hear words from your capitol. They will attest as to the actions taken thee, if you have attacked the Cyrene and subdued our enemies and if you have excused your court of mischievous men from the land of Shapadutu (Sha-pad-utu or Sparta in Akkadian) or any envoy from the land of Ahhianuhu (Akkadian render of Ahhiyawa, Hittite for Achaea or the Mycenean kingdom of Greece in the Bronze Age). Do this, and I will return in the year of 4175 (575 BCE) and gift the a rimutu and a qepu to assist thee in rule.

Make fast a response. Woe to ye who sayeth, ‘we shall wait for the results to accumulate,’ for those without decisive action are swept in a tide of ruin.” -Letter to Wahibre of Egypt, from the Great King of Assyria

Turmoil in Egypt and Sinbanipal Departs Satisfied

Wahibre reviewed the missal from Sinbanipal and trouble reached him, which was followed by a gladness. Wahibre responded clearly, he would repudiate past alliances and pull Egypt from the alliance with Sparta and others and proceed with a pro-Assyrian approach. He messaged back to Sinbanipal, a firm acceptance of the terms and agreed to engage in war with the Cyrenes as a proof of submission.

The court erupted into anger, any Greek members left the court at Sais as protest and began to send envoys to Crete, explaining the change in the guard in the land of Egypt. All of the main factions of Egypt were displeased aside for the Pro-Assyrian faction, which was able for the first time, hire mercenary and provide direct aid from the Empire to Egypt. A funneling of revenue drew into Egypt in the later months of 582 BCE from Phoenicia, Arabia and the Levant. Sinbanipal was pleased at the response, and would spend the next month of October in Jerusalem, even going so far as to attend the temple of Jerusalem, where he was permitted as a special guest on the exterior, permitted to give an offering to the God of Israel, whom the Assyrian scribes, identify as Adad.

After which, Sinbanipal departed north to the city of Tyre under Ithobaal III, whom he received gifts from. Then he marched to Byblos, Sarepta and all of the other Phoenician cities of import during the month of November and December. Before in late December he marched to Halab (Aleppo) under where the prior mayor of the city and servant of Sinbanipal, the Greek Buri-Adad, had passed away in October of 582 BCE. Sinbanipal arrived in opportune fashion, there he appointed the new mayor of the city to be one of the Greek mercenary who served as the chamberlain of Bur-Adad, a certain Alastair of Halabu , who took the eponym, Bur-Adad II and he was given the title of Boss of Halabu (Belu-Halabu or boss of Aleppo), giving ceremoniously his predecessor the same title. Likewise, Sinbanipal marched to Carchemish, where he appointed in February of 581 BCE, a king to the city from one of the noble houses in the city, named Suhi, who was thus Suhi IV. For the rest of the month of February, Sinbanipal was heralded as a Divine-like figure in Carchemish for restoring her dignity. Praises filled the street for his kindness and the glad tidings to be given him.

Sibanipal then finally finished his tours by marching to Haran, where he made his due tributes to his patron God, the Great God Sin. After which, he marched to the south to the city of Washukanni, wherein he donated 1000 Philistine inhabitants to be settled therein. Finally, after this, he marched toward the city of Assur. Where Maniuqappu had passed away in December of 581 BCE. His succession was followed closely by a certain Shimtu-Shamie-Assur (Assur is the Destiny of the Celestials) who was a devotee of the ideals of Maniuqappu. He was affirmed by Sinbanipal. Then in an odd situation, the Chamberlain of Assyria, Rabi-Adad, also passed in a journey to attend the funerary rites of Maniuqappu of a fit of smallpox. Sinbanipal appointed thus, after the funerary service for both, the chamberlain of noble descent and ally of Maniuqappu, a certain Assur-Shalushtu (Assur is the Triad).

Sinbanipal then decreed a period of recovery in Assyria for himself. Dugul-Naboo, for his part had dispatched soldiers to launch raids upon the Pontic Cimmerians and also stymie the arrival of new bands of Scythians in 581 BCE, which would continue for the rest of 581 BCE. Meanwhile, the recovery of Colchis under Zurab II was becoming apparent and the death of Rusas IV spelled a possible disaster to be brewing in the north. Sinbanipal though unwilling to wage a campaign until the year 579 BCE, distributed new military edicts and distributed goods to assist Ishpuini II of Urartu in his defense against the Colchian and Scythian raids. Sinbanipal for instance, ordered Saruke of the Scythian division to be sent to Ishpuini II to be used as a defensive and offensive unit. It was also in this year, that Wahibre sent word to the Palace Herald of Assyria, as to his intention to gather an army to invade the Cyrenes in his west.

Military Reforms of Sinbanipal 581 BCE

Learning of the new innovations in identification through bracelets with cuneiform rendering of divisions, he decreed a new edict enforcing this new custom across the entire empire to all subjects and states. The full nature of this edict will be covered in a new update shortly.
 
I like how the Thamud campaign went, it is very realistic... and it opens the scene for further Assyrian penetration on the Southern axis along the Incense Road, but without having it looking like an implausible walkover.
 
I like how the Thamud campaign went, it is very realistic... and it opens the scene for further Assyrian penetration on the Southern axis along the Incense Road, but without having it looking like an implausible walkover.
Working in favor of Thamud, is its access to friends within Yemen, with whom Assyria has only fragmented knowledge of. Also, what is your opinion on Egypt? What course should Egypt take. Likewise, considering the development in the Southern Protectorate, how do you feel Assyrian rule is projected into Arabia? Is it efficient or no, from what we have seen?
 
Working in favor of Thamud, is its access to friends within Yemen, with whom Assyria has only fragmented knowledge of. Also, what is your opinion on Egypt? What course should Egypt take.
Whatever course Egypt takes would be a "losing" situation. Either enter a conflict with the Greek world - maybe gaining Cyrene in the process, but solidifying a fully vassalized position toward Assyria - or confront Assyria with support of Hellenic and Anatolian allies, a very risky stance. Both choices also are likely to be divisive - Egyptian factions are not cohesive enough.

Likewise, considering the development in the Southern Protectorate, how do you feel Assyrian rule is projected into Arabia? Is it efficient or no, from what we have seen?
It is likely a long-drawn out process that will suck Assyrians deeper into Arabia; for now, they are project as efficiently as they plausibly can. It may prove a waste of assets in the end, but one the Assyrian state is ideologically bound to commit to, to guarantee stategic safety to already held territory. The ultimate goal should be full conquest of the Peninsula down to Aden... albeit the central desertic plateau will probably remain outside even nominal stable control, and Yemen is very, very far away... but also divided enough.
It will take decades to complete the conquest, even if it is feasible at all... Logistics are horrible.
 
Things are really heating up in Egypt. The Assyrians seem tobe trying to fully bring them into the system. I wonder how the Greeks will react to Sparta suddenly being snubbed.

The stuff about clothing is interesting. It is curious how this is so closely regulated.
 
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