Annals Edition 1, 841 BCE
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Date: 841 BCE
Current Location: Only small fragment preserved at Istanbul’s Archaeological Museum (EŞ 6697) Language and Script: Assyrian?; cuneiform
• One edition of Shalmaneser III’s annals has been reconstructed from four different exemplars, even though we cannot be entirely certain that they represent exact copies of the same text. Two of the exemplars were found on large stone bull lamassi from Shalmaneser’s palace at Kalah. One of the most impressive features of Neo-Assyrian architecture is the colossal winged bull or lion with a human head, known as a lamassu (plural, lamassi). The other two are from small fragments of stone inscriptions, preserving twenty-seven and three lines of text, respectively. Unfortunately, we only know the current location of the small three-line fragment.
• Relevant to Israelite history are the section of Shalmaneser’s annals that tell of his 18th year, when Jehu paid tribute. In this edition of the annals, this section is preserved only on the small 27-line exemplar. Scholars have also used this section to date the close of this edition of Shalmaneser’s annals to 841 BCE since it contains the latest events recorded in the four exemplars. But, because we only have pieces of this edition, we cannot be sure that it originally ended then. Circumstances of Discovery and Acquisition: The two lamassu inscriptions and the 27-line fragment are presently known only from publications based on squeezes. After they were discovered by Austen Henry Layard in 1846, the artifacts were left in situ, and the squeezes were sent to the British Museum. The squeezes cannot be reread today because, in quite a faux pas, they were destroyed after publication. The fourth exemplar, the small three line fragment, is presently in Istanbul’s Archaeological Museum.