Wednesday, September 4, 2013


R. L. Siddall (The Reign of Adad-Nirari III [Leiden: Brill, 2013]) discusses the role of the Assyrian official, Nergal-erish, during the reign of Adad-Nirari III. (I am dropping the diacritics from the quotations.)

Nergal-erish was a governor (p. 106), not a military man (p. 108), and has been "characterised as a conniving, murderous aspirant" (p. 107). After all,
If Ninurta-kudurri-usur's account is accurate, then it is possible that Tabnea had previously been treacherous and Nergal-erish was ordered to murder the governor of Suhu. (p. 110).
Some have noticed that some of Nergal-erish's inscription have been erased.
Scholars have suggested that the erasures could have been undertaken because Nergal-erish was disgraced and thus removed from the royal administration, or that his rebuilding project was a failure. (p. 111).
Some have suggested that
the magnates' unwillingness to relinquish their political authority created a power struggle at the expense of the empire. (p. 103).
These suggestions are difficult to evaluate so many millennia after the fact.
What is indicative is that Nergal-erish alone suffered erasure of his name from monuments. (p. 111).
If Nergal-erish was the only official whose name was defaced from monuments, then it is more plausible to postulate that he was disgraced and his career was removed from the public royal monuments. (p. 112).
One also notes that
The stability of the Middle Euphrates region seems to have come to an end soon after the close of Nergal-erish's term. Following his probable removal, the Middle Euphrates region fell from Assyrian control. (p.118).
Or, perhaps, Nergal-erish was responsible for the collapse of the Middle Euphrates region and so was removed from office and had his name defaced from the monuments. At this remove it is too difficult to tell on the scanty evidence whether Nergal-erish was responsible for holding the region together or tearing it apart. He may have done both.