Sammu-rāmat

After Mulissu-mukannišat-Ninua’s death, the next queen was the legendary Sammu-rāmat. During her son’s reign, Sammu-rāmat is referred to either with the title MI2.E2.GAL(queen) or with the longer title AMA LUGAL ("mother of the king") (Svärd 2012: 91). Her full title is “Sammu-rāmat, queen of Shamsi-Adad, mother of Adad-nerari, daughter-in-law of Shalmaneser” (H.W.Saggs, The Might That Was Assyria, St.Martin’s Press, New York 1990, p. 78-79; Svärd 2012: 10).There has been a great deal of speculation about the origin of Sammu-rāmat. The Levant, Assyria, Babylon, Armenia, Bit-Adini, Bit-Gabbari, Carchemish, Gurgum, Namri, Patina, Que and Šubria have all been suggested as being her native land. In the absence of further evidence these proposals must remain speculative (Teppo 2005: 35).

Sammu-rāmat is known from her stele that was uncovered in Assyria (K.Köroğlu, Eski Mezopotamya Tarihi, Başlangıcından Perslere Kadar, İletişim Yayınları, İstanbul 2006, p.163). She is also known from her son’s boundary stone where she is recorded as having gone on a campaign with her son, Adad-nerari III (Teppo 2005: 35; Svärd 2012: 103. For details see C.Zaccagnini, “Notes on the Pazarcik Stela”, State Archives of Assyria Bulletin, VII/ 1, Helsinki 1993, pp.53-72). This was found in Pazarcık/Kahramanmaraş in the south-east of Turkey (Fig.10) (E.Konyar, “M.Ö.I.Binyılda Kahramanmaraş Gurgum Krallığı”, Toplumsal Tarih Dergisi 180, Tarih Vakfı Yay.,İstanbul 2008, p.60).

This inscription describes how Adad-nerari and Sammu-rāmat crossed the Euphrates. After this, the perspective changes from the first person plural to first person singular, to describe the battle. Sammu-rāmat disappears as a subject and the king alone fights the enemy. However, immediately after the battle is won, the plural forms return: “they” erected the boundary stone between the king of Kummuhites and the king of Gurgumites. Variation in Assyrian royal inscriptions is ideologically and historically significant and the wording of the stele should be taken as a serious indicator of her position (Svärd 2012: 103).

It seems possible that she acted as pater familias after the death of her husband Shamsi-Adad while Adad-nerari III came of age (Teppo 2005: 35). Much has been written about her and her story became part of the myths and legend which surrounded the classical heroine Semiramis. The Greek writers Herodotus and the Roman historian Diodorus added to the legend with their stories of Semiramis (Macgregor 2012: 82;Teppo 2005: 36).

Bel-tarṣi-ilumma, governor of Kalhu dedicated two identical inscribed statues to the god Nabû and set them up in the Nabû Temple of Kalhu. Both statues state that Bel-tarṣi-ilumma had the statue made and dedicated it for the life of Adad-nerari and Sammu-rāmat (Teppo 2005: 36; Svärd 2012:103).

Sammu-rāmat was an authoritative figure who played an important role in the running of the empire. But she was not included in the later royal inscriptions and chronicles. Sammu-rāmat’s disappearance from later accounts “…was not because of insignificance of her position, and there is no evidence for a conflict between her and Adad-nerari III” but probably because “… Assyrian royal ideology could not accommodate the presence of an authoritative female figure”. As Siddall states, the reason is ideological. This seems a plausible explanation (Svärd 2012: 104-105).

sammu-ramat.txt · Last modified: 2014/10/23 17:17 (external edit)
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