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721-705 BCE

Mesopotamia / Kings /
Assyria / Neo period / Kings /
Sargon 2
Akkadian: sharru-kinu

Carchemish Hamath Byblos Dur-Sharrukin Nineveh Calah Ashur Babylon Damascus Jerusalem Ur

Assyria of Sargon 2

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(Dead 705 BCE) Ruler of Assyria 721-705, possibly from 722 co-regent with king Shalmaneser 5.
Assyria was still a new state when he assumed power, and the border situation of Assyria was tangible at first, as only parts of Babylonia, Urartu, Syria and Palestine then was conquered. Behind waited potent kingdoms for the opportunity to take back lands. Sargon succeeded both at maintaining control but also largely expanding Assyrian territory and weakening the neighbour states, as well as improving the quality of the empire's administration.
It has been alleged from this that he was of non-royal background taking the throne and forming a new dynasty. In the theory where he is considered of the royal family, it is as the son of Tiglath-Pileser 3, and the younger brother of Shalmaneser 5. It is mainly his representations that cause some confusion, as he presents himself without referring to predecessors.
His correct name was sharru-kinu, meaning "true king", the name he took assuming power. The "Sargon" version is how it is rendered in Hebrew in the Bible. Sargon was also the name of the legendary king a millennium and a half back in time.
He secured his position as king by granting privileges to the priesthood and restoring privileges for the merchant class.

Middle 8th century BCE: Born.
720's: Becomes co-regent with Shalmaneser 5.
721: Shalmaneser dies or is removed from power, Sargon 2 becomes the sole ruler.
720: Launches military campaigns against neighbouring Elam and the Aramaics. Losing against Elam, great conquests were made in ancient Syria and down to Gaza. Samaria was built as new regional capital.
719: Sends a campaign into Iran to protect his ally, the kingdom of Mannai. In the process, parts of Media is incorporated into Assyria.
717: Conquers Carchemish.
— Founds what is intended to be a new capital with Dur-Sharrukin, 20 km north of the traditional capital, Nineveh.
713: Exploiting Urartu's weakness, Sargon 2 plunders the sanctuary at Ardini, taking away the statue of the god, Khaldi. Urartian king, Rusas 1, commits suicide from this disaster. Although Urartu survives as a kingdom, it is now reduced to a minor power.
710: Following a siege on Babylon, Babylonia becomes part of Assyria.
After 710: All of Israel is finally brought under Assyrian control.
709: Phrygian king, Midas, submits to Assyria facing the threat of the Cimmerians.
708: Commagene is annexed by Assyria.
706: The royal court relocates to Dur-Sharrukin.
705: Sargon dies during a campaign against the Cimmerians. He is succeeded by his son, Sennacherib.

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By Tore Kjeilen