Tašmētu-šarrat was probably Sennacherib’s second wife. According to Reade, it is likely that she overlapped with Naqī’a and is possibly the mother of Aššur-nadin-šumi. She is known from an inscription on a votive vase, which merely states her name and position as Sennacherib’s queen (MI2.E2.GAL). The existence of an inscription of her own is significant on its own-not anyone could do that. She is also known from Sennacherib’s building inscription where she is called “the queen” (MI2.E2.GAL) and a “beloved wife” (Teppo 2005: 38). Sennacherib built a palace in Nineveh for his “beloved wife” (Macgregor 2012: 85). The inscription found on a lion colossus from the South-West Palace at Nineveh in unique in that it seems to reflect the genuine feeling of the king towards his wife. Sennacherib records here how he built a palace for “the queen, my beloved wife, whose features Belet-ili has made perfect above all women” (Svärd 2012: 106).
Reade writes that visual evidence suggests that both Naqī’a and Tašmētu-šarrat contributed to the policies characteristic of Sennacherib’s rule (Teppo 2005: 39). Indeed, by the beginning of the 7th century BC, the queen was invested with more and wider-reaching authority than ever before. The textual and archaeological record suggests that, by the time of Sennacherib, the nature and responsibilities of the queen had undergone a deep change. Most significantly perhaps, the queen now commanded her own standing army (SAA 06, 164, reverse 4-5, 11-12: LÚ.GAL-ki-ṣir ša MI2.E2.GAL; LU2.GAL-ki-ṣir KI.MIN; LU2-3-šu2 ša MI2.E2.GAL, from the reign of Sennacherib, 686 BC. See Radner 2012: 692, fn 5), as did also the crown prince. This seems to have been a strategy inspired by the king’s desire to shift power away from the magnates to members of his immediate family (Radner 2012: 692, 693).
In the 7th century, the queen started to use seals more than before. The texts SAA 07, 93, 94, 98, 99, 100 and 102 included the queen’s seal and scorpion symbol. Tašmētu-šarrat’s seal was acquired in 2002 by the British Museum (Fig.15) (Radner 2012: 687, 690 ve 693).