281 BABYLONIA -CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.
CHAPTER XXV-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.
BABYLON was ruled by seven kings. Of these the great names are Nabopolassar,
Nebuchadnezzar, and Nabonadius. The history of the Empire begins with the accession of the
first named, in the year B. C. 625. Babylonia, however, as a province or viceroyalty of
Assyria, had had an existence extending over several centuries. The Assyrian conquest had
never extinguished the southern kingdom, but merely reduced it to a position of
subordination. There was thus interposed between the time of the capture of Babylon by the
Assyrians, in B. C. 1300, with the consequent transfer of the leadership of the
Mesopotamian nations to Nineveh, and the sudden revival of Babylonian independence under
Nabopolassar, a long and dubious period in the history of the ancient kingdom of the
South-a period in which the political status of Babylonia fluctuated between absolute
subjection and quasi independence. It is in this chaotic time, between the extinction of
the Chaldaean monarchy and the restitution under Nabopolassar, that the beginnings of
BabyIonian history must be sought and found.
Very soon after the conquest of the country" by Tiglathi-Adar, in B. C. 1300, it was found
desirable to govern* Babylonia as a viceroyalty rather than as an integral part of the
Assyrian Empire. In order to pre- vent revolts and to insure the loyalty of the provincial
government, the Ninevite kings were careful for a long time to select, as their viceroys
in the South, princes and nobles of Assyrian blood. With this pre- caution, the province
was left in a state of comparative independence, subject only to the regular payment of
the tribute. It was but natural, however, that these Baby- Ionian governors, so far
removed from Nineveh, should frequently look askance
at the doings of the home government, and that they should see in the situation the
suggestion of independence. Even under a certain NEBUCHADNEZZAR, the first Babylonian
viceroy, there were .two outbreaks on the part of the governor. He made considerable
headway against the forces of Asshur-Ris-llim, the then Assyrian king, and though defeated
and driven back, he retired into his government without serious punishment.
When Asshur-Ris-llim was succeeded by his son, Tiglath-Pileser I, the latter determined to
avenge the insult offered to his country and led an army into Babylonia. Merodach-Iddin-A-
khi had now become viceroy, and between him and the Assyrian there was a struggle for the
mastery. The Babylonians were beaten. Several of their cities were taken, including the
two Sipparas, Opis, and Babylon; but there was still vigor enough left in the army of the
viceroy to pursue and harass the king as he retired from the country. It is said, even,
that Merodach in one instance made a dash on the rear of the Assyrian army, and succeeded
in capturing and carrying away the images of the gods, which Pileser had brought along to
protect him. These disturbances continued during the two succeeding reigns, and it was not
until the close of the first century after the conquest that a state of comparative quiet
This more peaceful condition was brought about rather by the weakening of Assyrian
influence than by any stupor among the Babylonians. For about two hundred years (B. C.
1100-900), the power which had been so signally established by Tiglathi-Adar was allowed
to decline in the hands of incompetent successors. Mean- while the Babylonians, recovering
from the depression of conquest, flourished and extended their influence, political and
commercial, into several surrounding countries. But, with the accession, in the year B. C.
880, of Asshur-lzir-Pal, a new energy was