sar'-gon (722-705 BC):
The name of this ruler is written cargon, in the Old Testament, Shar-ukin in the cuneiform inscriptions, Arna, in the Septuagint, and Arkeanos, in the Ptolemaic Canon. Sargon is mentioned but once by name in the Old Testament (Isaiah 20:1), when he sent his Tartan (turtannu) against Ashdod, but he is referred to in 2 Kings 17:6 as "the king of Assyria" who carried Israel into captivity.
Shalmaneser V had laid siege to Samaria and besieged it three years. But shortly before or very soon after its capitulation, Sargon, perhaps being responsible for the king's death, overthrew the dynasty, and in his annals credited himself with the capture of the city and the deportation of its inhabitants. Whether he assumed the name of the famous ancient founder of the Accad dynasty is not known.
Sargon at the beginning of his reign was confronted with a serious situation in Babylon. Merodach-baladan of Kaldu, who paid tribute to previous rulers, on the change of dynasty had himself proclaimed king, New Year's Day, 721 BC. At Dur-ilu, Sargon fought with the forces of Merodachbalddan and his ally Khumbanigash of Elam, but although he claimed a victory the result was apparently indecisive. Rebellions followed in other parts of the kingdom.
In 720 BC Ilu-bi'di (or Yau-bi'di), king of Hamath, formed a coalition against Sargon with Hanno of Gaza, Sib'u of Egypt, and with the cities Arpad, Simirra, Damascus and Samaria. He claims that Sib'u fled, and that he captured and flayed Ilu-bi'di, burned Qarqar, and carried Hanno captive to Assyria. After destroying Rapihu, he carried away 9,033 inhabitants to Assyria.
In the following year Ararat was invaded and the Hittite Carchemish fell before his armies. The territory of Rusas, king of Ararat, as well as a part of Melitene became Assyrian provinces.
In 710 BC Sargon directed his attention to Merodachbaladan, who no longer enjoyed the support of Elam, and whose rule over Babylon had not been popular with his subjects. He was driven out from Babylon and also from his former capital Bit-Yakin, and Sargon had himself crowned as the shakkanak of Babylon.
In 706 BC the new city called Dur-Sharrukin was dedicated as his residence. A year later he was murdered. It was during his reign that the height of Assyrian ascendancy had been reached.
A. T. Clay
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