Xerxes and Tiglath-pileser III, Revisited

Since Tiglath-pileser III was the primary role model for Xerxes, let's also take a look at Babylon during the reign of Tiglath-pileser/Nabonezer before moving on.

As noted (in the above post), Sennacherib dealt with Babylon around his 12th year. After a 9-month seige, he retook the city and laid waste to it.

The beginning of Tiglath-pileser III's reign preceded that of Sennacherib by a few decades. However, also around the 12th year of Tiglath-pileser, rebellion broke out in Babylon. Hostilities lasted about five years in that earlier case. Initially, three figures struggled to gain control over the city, namely, Nabu-nadin-zeri, Shuma-ukin (who had previously been governor of Babylon), and Nabu-mukin-zer (a.k.a. Mukin-zer and Ukin-zer).

In the official account, the first two combatants were killed within two years. It then took Tiglath-pileser III another three years to subdue Mukin-zer, afterwhich he declared himself king of Babylon under his Assyrian name (rather than the Babylonian Nabonezer/Nabonassar/ Nabunasir). However, the similarity in all these names, including that of Tiglath-pilezer, gives us cause to suspect that Tiglath-pileser III was actively involved in the "rebellion" at Babylon from its inception. (Note also the similarity between Zer and the later Xerxes.)

Tiglath-pileser III was afterwards lenient with Babylon, however he was assassinated less than two years later. In retrospect, the protracted hostilities in Babylon may have been at least partially attributed to Tiglath-pileser's downfall. Xerxes seems to have tried to improve on both Tiglath-pileser and Sennacherib in his immediate and pre-emptive/contrived suppression of Babylon.

The trio of figures involved in the staged unrest of Xerxes' reign also reflect those of Tiglath-pileser's. The ill-fated governor Shuma-ukin parallels the governor under Xerxes, Zopyrus, as well as the governor under Sennacherib, Assur-nadin-shumi. Nabu-nadin-zeri and Nabu-mukin-zer relate well to Bel-simanni and Shamash-eriba. Nabu is another form of the sun/fire god Shamash/Simeon. The Persians called this god Ahura-Mazda, and this was the only god venerated by the Persians during the reign of Xerxes.

Xerxes was considered Crown Prince under Darius for up to 11 years. This may have allowed him to justify the crack-down on Babylon so early in his sole reign.

The name Zopyrus seems to combine Joseph/Zophar and Issachar/Zophah typecasting.