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Sargon II

Meaning: “the faithful king”

In ancient inscriptions, “Sarra-yukin” [the god] has appointed the king; also “Sarru-kinu,” meaning the legitimate king

On the death of Shalmaneser (723 BC), one of the Assyrian generals established himself on the vacant throne, taking the name of “Sargon,” after that of the famous monarch, the Sargon of Accad, founder of the first Semitic empire, as well as of one of the most famous libraries of Chaldea.

Sargon II began a conquering career, and became one of the most powerful of the Assyrian monarchs. He is mentioned by name in the Bible only in connection with the siege of Ashdod (Isaiah 20:1).

At the very beginning of his reign he besieged and took the city of Samaria (2 Kings 17:6; 18:9-12).

On an inscription found in the palace he built at Khorsabad, near Nineveh, he says,

“The city of Samaria I besieged, I took; 27,280 of its inhabitants I carried away; fifty chariots that were among them I collected,” etc.

The northern kingdom he changed into an Assyrian satrapy.

He afterwards drove Merodach-baladan, who kept him at bay for 12 years, out of Babylon, which he entered in triumph.

By a succession of victories he gradually enlarged and consolidated the empire, which now extended from the frontiers of Egypt in the west to the mountains of Elam in the east, and thus carried almost to completion the ambitious designs of Tiglath-pileser.

From 717 to 707 BC, Sargon II constructed a new Assyrian capital named after himself, Dur-Sharrukin (Fort Sargon), which he made his official residence in 706 BC.

Sargon II’s last campaign was against the kingdom of Tabal in Anatolia (705 BC).

He died in 705 BC after a reign of 16 years, and was succeeded by his son Sennacherib.

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Article Version: June 11, 2024