Sargon II

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Sargon II ( Akkadian Šarru-kên "legitimate king", reigned 722 – 705 BC) was an Assyrian king. Sargon II became co-regent with Shalmaneser V in 722 BC, and became the sole ruler of the kingdom of Assyria in 722 BC after the death of Shalmaneser V. It is not clear whether he was the son of Tiglath-Pileser III or a usurper unrelated to the royal family. In his inscriptions, he styles himself as a new man, rarely referring to his predecessors; however he took the name Sharru-kinu ("true king"), after Sargon of Akkad — who had founded the first Semitic Empire in the region some 16 centuries earlier.[1] Sargon is the Biblical form of the name.


Early reign

Beset by difficulties at the beginning of his rule, Sargon II made a pact with the Babylonian king Marduk-apla-iddina II. He was able to free all temples, as well as the inhabitants of the towns of Assur and Harran from taxes. While Sargon was thus trying to gain support in Assyria, Marduk-apla-iddina II conquered Babylon with the help of the new Elamite king Ummanigash and was crowned king in 721 BC.

Military campaigns

In 720 BC Sargon moved against Elam, but the Assyrian army was defeated near Der. Later that year, Sargon defeated an Aramean coalition at Qarqar, thereby gaining control of Arpad, Simirra, and Damascus. Sargon conquered Gaza in Philistia, destroyed Rafah, and won a victory over Egyptian troops. On his return, he had Samaria rebuilt as the capital of the new province of Samerina and settled it with Assyrians.

In 717 BC he conquered parts of the Zagros mountains and the Syro-Hittite city of Carchemish on the Upper Euphrates. In 716 BC he moved against the Mannaeans, where the ruler Aza, son of Iranzu, had been deposed by Ullusunu with the help of the Urartuans. Sargon took the capital Izirtu, and stationed troops in Parsuash (the original home of the Persian tribe, on lake Urmia) and Kar-Nergal (Kishesim). He built new bases in Media as well, the main one being Harhar which he renamed Kar-Sharrukin. In 715 BC, others were to follow: Kar-Nabu, Kar-Sin and Kar-Ishtar — all named after Babylonian gods and resettled by Assyrian subjects.

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