Ashur-nadin-shumi (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: Ashur-nadin-shumi in Akkadian2.png Aššur-nādin-šumi,[1][2] meaning "Ashur gives a name")[3] was a son of the Neo-Assyrian king Sennacherib and was appointed by him as the king of Babylon, ruling southern Mesopotamia from 700 BC to his capture and execution by the Elamites in 694 BC. Ashur-nadin-shumi was probably Sennacherib's firstborn son and his first crown prince and thus the designated successor to the Assyrian throne.

King of Babylon
King of Babylon
(vassal of the Neo-Assyrian Empire)
Reign700–694 BC
Died694 BC
DynastySargonid dynasty


Confirmation by the later Babylonian king Shamash-shum-ukin, Ashur-nadin-shumi's nephew, of a grant originally made by Ashur-nadin-shumi. 670–650 BC. The tablet is currently housed in the British Museum.

Babylonia had been conquered by the Neo-Assyrian Empire by Tiglath-Pileser III (r. 745–727 BC) less than thirty years before Ashur-nadin-shumi became its king.[4] During these thirty years, Babylonia had repeatedly attempted to once more become an independent kingdom. Babylonian revolts became an especially frequent nuisance during the reign of Sennacherib, who had to defeat numerous southern revolts throughout his reign.[5]

After defeating uprisings in 700 BC, Sennacherib named his own son, Ashur-nadin-shumi, as the new king of Babylon. Ashur-nadin-shumi was also titled as māru rēštû, a title that could be interpreted either as the "pre-eminent son" or the "firstborn son". His appointment as King of Babylon and the new title suggests that Ashur-nadin-shumi was being groomed to also follow Sennacherib as the King of Assyria upon his death. Ashur-nadin-shumi being titled as the māru rēštû likely means that he was Sennacherib's crown prince; if it means "pre-eminent" such a title would be befitting only for the crown prince and if it means "firstborn", it also suggests that Ashur-nadin-shumi was the heir as the Assyrians in most cases followed the principle of primogeniture (the oldest son inherits).[2] More evidence in favor of Ashur-nadin-shumi being the crown prince is Sennacherib's construction of a palace for him at the city of Assur,[6] something Sennacherib would also do for the later crown prince Esarhaddon.[7]

As an Assyrian king of Babylon, Ashur-nadin-shumi's position was politically important and highly delicate and would have granted valuable experience to him as the intended heir to the entire Neo-Assyrian Empire. However, Ashur-nadin-shumi's tenure as Babylonian king would not last long and he was unable to handle the volatile political situation in the south.[7] In 694 BC, Sennacherib campaigned against Elam (modern day southern Iran) to chase after Chaldean rebels which had fled there. In response to this incursion into their territory, the Elamites invaded the southern parts of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and in 694 BC, probably encouraged by the Babylonians themselves, successfully captured Ashur-nadin-shumi at the city of Sippar. The prince was taken back to Elam and probably executed.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bertin 1891, p. 49.
  2. ^ a b Porter 1993, p. 14.
  3. ^ Tallqvist 1914, p. 42.
  4. ^ Porter 1993, p. 41.
  5. ^ Glassner 2004, p. 197.
  6. ^ Porter 1993, p. 15.
  7. ^ a b Porter 1993, p. 16.
  8. ^ Bertman 2005, p. 79.

Cited bibliographyEdit

  • Bertin, G. (1891). "Babylonian Chronology and History". Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. 5: 1–52. doi:10.2307/3678045. JSTOR 3678045.
  • Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. OUP USA. ISBN 978-0195183641.
  • Glassner, Jean-Jacques (2004). Mesopotamian Chronicles. Society of Biblical Literature. ISBN 978-1589830905.
  • Porter, Barbara N. (1993). Images, Power, and Politics: Figurative Aspects of Esarhaddon's Babylonian Policy. American Philosophical Society. ISBN 9780871692085.
  • Tallqvist, Knut Leonard (1914). Assyrian Personal Names (PDF). Leipzig: August Pries.
 Died: 694 BC
Preceded by King of Babylon
700 – 694 BC
Succeeded by