283 BABYLONIA.-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS
B. C. 747 to B. C. 733. With him, according to Herodotus and other ancient writers, was
associated his mother, SEMIRAMIS. Attempts have been made to show that she and the
Assyrian Semiramis were one and the same personage. If we are to trust the accepted
chronologies, the Assyrian queen flourished a full half century before the date assigned
to the Babylonian. Possibly there were two princesses of the same name. Possibly a mistake
has been made in the dates. At any rate it appears that the queen-mother--or queen-wife,
as some say-of Nabonassar exercised a large influence during his reign, and added to the
traditional glory of the name of Semiramis.
Nabonassar conducted no important wars, and added nothing by conquest to his dominions.
After a reign of fourteen years he was succeeded by an obscure prince called NADIUS. He is
not reckoned among the "kings," and his two successors, CHINZINUS and PORUS, were still
less worthy to be counted among the great rulers of Babylon. The next was named ELULACUS,
who is rather a mythical than a historical personage. Nadius is- said to have reigned for
two years, and the others followed in quick succession. None of the four left any distinct
impress on the history of their times, nor do they seem to have been honored even in their
own country. With the accession of MERODACH-BALADAN, how- ever, another era of prosperity
and power dawned in Babylonia.
This ambitious prince had been the ruler of a province in the times of. Nabonassar, and in
the vicissitudes that followed that monarch's death gained such influence ,as to make
himself the successor of Elulacus. He had, after his father's death, been obliged by
Tiglath-Pileser to acknowledge himself tributary to Assyria; but this was done with a
mental reservation, and after remaining for a while in obscurity, he suddenly availed
himself of a change of dynasties in both Assyria, and Babylonia to extend his authority
over the latter country. This was accomplished in the year 721 B.C., coincidently with the
accession of Sargon to the throne of Nineveh.
It was a precarious assumption of power. Merodach-Baladan seemed to realize the
peril of his situation . Sargon, the new monarch of Assyria was not a ruler to be trifled
with. The Babylonian saw that he must fight. For some time the affairs at Nineveh were in
such a condition as to favor Merodach's usurpation. A period of twelve years intervened
before Sargon was ready to turn his attention to affairs in Babylonia. This interveal;
had been. well employed by the king of that country in preparations for the conflict. He
had succeeded in building up a formidable league to resist the further encroachments of
Assyrian ambition. He established friendly relations with Hezekiah, king of Judah. Sabak,
the Egyptian Pharaoh also entered into the plans of Merodach and thus an alliance was
effected between Babylonia and Susiana in the East and; Egypt and Palestine in the West.
The array thus presented to Sargon was not to be despised.
The geographical position of the parties, however, greatly favored the Assyrians' Nineveh
was so situated with respect to Babylonia and Syria, as to enable Sargon to divide the
parties to the league. He could easily thrust his armies between those of his antagonists
and beat them in detail. He accordingly organized two campaigns, .one against Egypt and
one against Babylon. The allies were unable to withstand him. In B. C. 711-hemade his way
into Egypt. The stronghold of Ashdod was taken without much resistance, and Pharaoh Sabak
made haste to send an embassy suing for peace. Egyptian dependency was reestablished, and
Sargon turned his attention to the reduction of Babylonia.
In the next year he marched into Lower Mesopotamia. A decisive battle was fought, and
Merodach-Baladan was completely overthrown. He retreated into his native province, and
shut himself in the fortress of Yakin; but Sargon pursued him, took the city, got
possession of the Babylonian himself, and carried him off to Nineveh. Before leaving the
South, Sargon had himself proclaimed king of Babylon, thus, for the time, extinguishing
the line of native rulers.