The Assyrian Chronicle

[15] Abydenus on the Assyrian Kingdom.

Here is the way the Chaldeans describe the kings of their land, from Alorus to [g76] Alexander. There is no special attention given to Ninus or Semiramis. So saying, [Abydenus] begins [g77] his account. He says that [the kings of the Assyrians] were Ninus, son of Arbelus, son of Chaalus, son of Arbelus, son of Anebus, son of Babus, son of the Assyrian king Belus [g78].

Then [Abydenus] describes [the rulers] one by one, from Ninus and Semiramis to Sardanapallus, who was the last of them. From the latter until the first [g79] Olympiad 67 years elapsed. Abydenus wrote about each of the Assyrian kings, one by one [g80] in this fashion. He is not the sole [author to write about them]. Castor, too, in the summary of his first Chronology describes the Assyrian kings in the same manner to the refuge of Solomon.

From the Summary of Castor, on the kingdom of the Assyrians.

[Castor] says: "Belus was the king of the Assyrians. During his reign [g81], the Cyclopes, using thunder and lightning, fought on Zeus' side in the battle Zeus (Aramazd) fought against the Titans. The kings of the Titans were known at this time, one of them being Ogygus. [Castor], after some brief words about him, states that the giants attacked the gods and were defeated after Heracles and Dionysius--who were descended from the Titans--came to the aid of the gods.

Belus, about whom we spoke earlier, died and was regarded as a god. After him Ninus ruled the Assyrians as king for 52 years. He married Semiramis. After [Ninus], Semiramis was the monarch for 42 years. Then Zames, also called Ninyas, ruled. Then [Castor continues] to mention each of the successive kings of the Assyrians to Sardanapallus. Shortly we too will provide a list of the names and regnal years of the monarchs. [Castor], in his Canons, also writes about who succeeded them [i.e. the rulers after Sardanapallus].

[Castor states:] First we described the kings of the Assyrians starting with Belus, but since the length of [g82] his reign has not been passed down with certainty, we have merely recorded his name. We have begun the chronology with Ninus and ended it with the other Ninus who held the kingship after Sardanapallus. In this fashion the entire duration [of the kingdom] may be shown clearly, as well as each individual king's [reign]. Thus it turns out that the [total] duration [of the Assyrian kingdom] was 1,280 years. This is Castor's [account]. Diodorus Siculus collected the same [material] in his Library. Here is what he wrote.

[16] From Diodorus' work on the kingdom of the Assyrians.

No testimony of the first kings of the Asian world [g83] has survived--neither about their deeds nor [even] their names. Ninus was the first king of the Assyrians found to be worthy of historical remembrance. [Ninus]' deeds and valor were great, and we shall endeavor to describe them briefly. And [Diodorus] informs after narrating other things, that Ninus had a son Ninyas from Semiramis, and that after [Ninus]' death, Semiramis buried Ninus' body in the palace [out of sight] and stopped being queen [ruling instead as king]. Then after a bit [Diodorus] says that Semiramis ruled over all the Asians except the Indians. She died as we previously stated after living 62 years and [g84] reigning for 42 years. Separately [Castor] says that after [Semiramis'] death, Ninyas, son of Ninus and Semiramis assumed power. He maintained peace, not emulating his mother's martial and industrious manner.

Again, further on, [Diodorus] says that in such a fashion royal power was handed down from father to son, from generation to generation until [g85] Sardanapallus. During his reign royal power passed from the Assyrians to the Medes, after lasting more than 1,300 years as Ctesias of Cnidus observes in his second book. But [these authors] did not bother to record the names of these kings or the lengths of their reigns, since they accomplished nothing worthy of recall. The only event meriting recording [during this interval] was the [military] assistance sent to the Trojans by the Assyrians under general Memnon, Tithonus' son [g86].

While Teutamus--the 26th king from Semiramis' son, Ninyas--was the reigning king of the Asian world the Greeks, under Agamemnon, mustered troops and went to the land of the Trojans to fight. By this time the Assyrians had ruled over Asia for more than a thousand years. Priam, king of Troy, in difficulty because of the war, beseechingly requested [g87] military aid from the Assyrian king. [Teutamus acceded] and provided [Priam] with 10,000 [troops] from the land of the Ethiopians, an equal number from the Nusians, and two hundred chariots, [all] under [the command of] Tithonus' son Memnon. [Diodorus] further states that the barbarians said that Memnon had performed such feats of bravery that they were recorded in the royal books.

Sardanapallus, the 35th king from Ninus who [g88] organized the state, became the final king of the Assyrians. He surpassed all his predecessors in luxurious living and laziness. After a bit [Diodorus] informs that [Sardanapallus] was so dissolute that not only did he ruin his own life, but he wreaked the entire Assyrian state which had endured from time immemorial. Now it happened that there was a certain Arbaces of Median nationality, a virtuous stout-hearted man who was a general of the Medes who were sent each year to Ninus' city. In the course of his military duties, he became friendly with the commander-in-chief of the Median army, who beseeched him to overthrow the Assyrian government. This is what Diodorus relates in book two of the Historical Library. Cephalion also mentions Assyrian rule. Here is what he says [g89].

[17] The historian Cephalion on the Assyrian kingdom.

Let me begin by writing about what others too have written. First Hellanicus [g90] of Lesbos and Ctesias of Cnidus, followed by Herodotus of Halicarnassus [have written about the Assyrians]. The first of the Assyrians to rule over the Asians was Belus' son, Ninus. During his reign many valorous deeds were done. Then he continues to discuss the birth of Semiramis, Zoroaster the Mage, war with the king of the Bactrians and the military defeat by Semiramis. Ninus' reign lasted for 52 years, and then he died. After him [g91] Semiramis ruled. It was she who built the walls around Babylon in the manner described by many [writers such as] Ctesias, Zenon, Herodotus and others after him.

Then he describes how Semiramis mustered troops [and went] against India, her defeat and flight; how she killed her own sons and then was killed by her son Ninyas, after a reign of 42 years. Then Ninyas assumed power. Cephalion says that he did nothing worthy of recall. Then he and others describe how for a thousand years power passed from father to son with none of them [g92] ruling for less than 20 years. Disliking warfare and strife they were effeminate, carefully keeping themselves fortified indoors, doing nothing, and seeing no one except their concubines or effeminate men. It seems to me that Ctesias records the names of some 23 of these kings, should someone want to know about them in more detail. But what pleasure or satisfaction would it bring to record the barbaric names [g93] of despicable, weak savages who displayed neither valor nor brave deeds?

[Cephalion] says next that 640 years later, Belimus ruled over the Assyrians. Perseus, [son] of Danae arrived in his land with 100 ships. He was escaping from Semele's son, Dionysius. After describing the defeat of Perseus by Dionysius, [Cephalion] says that in later times, when Pannyas [g94] ruled over the Assyrians, the fleet of the Argonauts sailed up the Phasis River to Mende' in Colchis. Hercules had [previously] left the ship out of his desire and longing for Hylas. As they say, he wandered about seeking [Hylas] in Cappadocia. Furthermore [Cephalion] says that 1000 years had elapsed from Semiramis to King Mitraeus. If one computes it, [the story of Medea and the period of King Mitreus] join up. [It was then] that Medea left King Aegeus [?Aeetes] of Colchis out of lust [for Jason]. Her son was Medus, whence Media, that is the [Armenian term] Mark' ("Medes"). Moreover that land is called Media, [g95] which is Marastan [in Armenian]. [Cephalion] says that Teutamus succeeded Mitraeus. The former also lived according to the customs and laws of the Assyrians. Nothing new occurred during his reign.

Agamemnon and Menelaeus, the Mycenaeans, mustered troops with the Argives and went against the city of Ilium while Priam was general of Phrygia. He said: "The Greek troops [g96] which have come against me have reached your own land. We have engaged them in battle, sometimes winning, sometimes losing. But now, behold, my own son Hector has died among many other brave sons. Send us auxiliary troops under a courageous general." [Cephalion] then describes in detail how Teutamus sent assistance to him under the generalship of Memnon, Tithonus' son. However, the Thessalians (T'eghaghats'ik) treacherously killed him. In another passage [Cephalion] says that Sardanapallus became king of the Assyrians in the 1,013 th year; and then he describes his destruction. After the death of Sardanapallus, (V)Arbaces the Mede, destroyed the power of the Assyrians and transferred rule to the Medes. All this is related by Cephalion.

Here is a list of the Assyrian kings, based on the most trustworthy writings [g97].

[18] Kings of the Assyrians.

1 Ninus 52 years
They say that he was the first king to reign over all the Asians, except the Indians. Abraham, patriarch of the Hebrew people, lived during his time.
2 Semiramis 42 years
3 Zhames, also called Ninyas 38 years
4 Arius 30 years
5 Aralius, also called Amyrus 40 years
6 Xerxes, also called Balaeus 30 years
7 Armamithres 38 years
8 Belochus 35 years
9 Balaeas 12 years
10 Aladas 32 years
11 Mamithus 30 years
12 Machchalaeus 30 years
13 Sphaerus 22 years
14 Mamilus 30 years
15 Sparethus 40 years
16 Ascatades 40 years
Moses, the law-giver of the Jews, lived during his reign.
17 Amintas 45 years
18 Belochus 45 years
His daughter Tratre's, who was also [g98] called Ak'urartist, ruled in her own stead for 17 years. Dionysius and Perseus lived in this period.
19 Balatores 30 years
20 Lamprides 32 years
21 Sosmares 8 years
22 Lampares 30 years
23 Pannias 42 years
During his reign the fleet of the Argonauts and Heracles appeared.
24 Sosarmus 19 years
25 Mithraeus 27 years
26 Teutamus 32 years
During his reign Ilium was captured.
27 Teutaeus 40 years
28 Theneus 30 years
29 Derusus 40 years
30 Eupalmes 38 years
During his reign David, the prominent king of the Hebrews, lived. It was his son [g99] Solomon who built the temple in Jerusalem.
31 Laosthenes 45 years
32 Peritiades 30 years
33 Ophrataeus 21 years
34 Ophatanes 50 years
35 Acrazanes 42 years
36 Sardanapallus 20 years
During his reign Lycurgus made laws for the Lacedaemonians. The kings of the Assyrians were the rulers until this period, when Thespieus, Ariphron's son, was king of the Athenians.

According to reliable sources, the entire empire of the Assyrians lasted for 1,240 years. Others say that it lasted for 1,300 years. Thonnus Concolerus, who is called Sardanapallus in Greek, was defeated by Arbaces and Belesius and committed suicide by fire. From [Sardanapallus] until the first Olympiad, 40 years elapsed.

Once Arbaces had destroyed Assyrian rule, he designated Belesius as king of the Babylonians. [Arbaces] himself transferred the authority of the Assyrians to the Medes. Here is [a table of] their [kings'] reigns [g100].


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