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The fall of Nineveh/Babylon (2)

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12 Assyrian Identity

05 Scientific knowledge and scholarly lore

05 Scientific knowledge and scholarly lore

09 Army and warfare

1st century BCE
Roman Empire
Helleno-Roman philosophers and scholars

The fall of Nineveh in the Diodorus Siculus’ account mirrors Assurbanipal’s conflict with his brother Šamaš-šumu-ukin of Babylon. The revolt was started by the leaders of the army, its allies were Medes, Persians (= Elamites), Babylonians and Arabs and the siege lasted for 2 years, as the siege of Babylon during the Šamaš-šumu-ukin’s revolt (650-648), while the siege of Nineveh in 612 lasted only two and a half months.

Diodorus Siculus 2.24.6, 2.27.1:
Arbaces persuaded the Medes to attack the Assyrian kingdom and the Persians to join in the conspiracy, on the condition of receiving their freedom (from the Assyrians). Belesys too in similar fashion both persuaded the Babylonians to strike for their freedom, and sending an embassy to Arabia, won over the commander of the people of that country, a friend of his who exchanged hospitality with him, to join in the attack. … The rebels, encouraged by their advandatages, pressed the siege, but were foiled by the strength of the walls from harming the defenders, for in those days artillery, defences for sappers, or battering-rams had not been invented. Moreover, there was great abundance of all provisions for those in the city, as the king had attended to this beforehand. Consequently the siege dragged on for two years, assaults were continually made upon the walls, and the occupants were cut off from egress to the country.

Sources (list of abbreviations)
Diodorus Siculus 2.24.6
Diodorus Siculus 2.27.1


Gadd 1923, 29-30Gadd, Cyril J. The Fall of Nineveh. London: Harrison and Sons Ltd 1923.
MacGinnis 1988MacGinnis, J. D. A. “Ctesias and the Fall of Nineveh.” Illinois Classical Studies 13 (1988) 37-42.
Oldfather 1960, I 430-431Oldfather, C. H. Diodorus of Sicily. 12 Vols. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, London: Heinemann 1960.

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