Ešarra-hammat was queen of Assyria, wife of Esarhaddon (680-669), mother of Ashurbanipal and Šamaš-šumi-ukin (died in 672). There are no references to her as a living person but the sources make it very clear that her loss caused deep grief for Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal and that she was remembered with great reverence. Quite extraordinarily, the date of her death in Addaru 672 is recorded in some Babylonian chronicles. Esarhaddon also built a mausoleum for her. This mausoleum was presumably located in Assur (Macgregor 2012: 87; Teppo 2005: 39).

In the royal inscriptions of Esarhaddon reads about her as follows:

“….E2 KI.MAH ša2 fé-šar2-<ra>-ha-mat MI2.E2.GAL-šu2:.. the grave of Ešarra-hammat, his (king) wife …”

ša2 fe2-šar2-ra-ha-mat MI2.KUR ša2 mAŠ-PAP-AŠ MAN KUR AŠ: Belonging to Ešarra-hammat, wife of Esarhaddon, king of Assyria…” (RINAP 4, Esarhaddon,2001 and 2002).

In addition, Naqī’a also continued her position in the reign of Esarhaddon, her son. It seems possible that exceptional circumtances, such as Esarhaddon’s need to bolster his mother’s status for political reasons, might have necessitated a change in the institution of MI2.E2.GAL (Svärd 2012: 96).

At this point, it is necessary to discuss throughly those Neo-Assyrian texts where the compound MI2.E2.GAL appears in the plural. There are only two references to queens in the plural form among the Neo-Assyrian texts. The first one comes from a funerary ritual of queen. Indeed, it was performed as a funerary ritual for Ešarra-hammat in 672. None of female participiants of the ritual are identified by name. Instead, they are referred to as “the daughter-in-law” (kallatu), and “the daughter” (marat šarri) (Melville 2004: 38 ve 46). At the beginning of the ritual “the daughter-in-law” apparently washes the feet of Ešarra-hammat and kisses them. “The daughter” sprinkles roasted grain in the second part of the ritual. It is recorded that the queens (MI2.E2.GAL.MEŠ) cry out (Svärd 2012: 97). The second refence is an astrological report (SAA 08, 381) from 669, MI2.E2.GAL appears in the plural “for the king, the son of the king (and) his (w)ives” (Svärd 2012: 96).

esarra-hammat.txt · Last modified: 2014/10/23 17:19 by hawkins
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