The Succession Treaty of Essarhadon
Artifact: Clay tablet
Period: Neo-Assyrian (ca. 911-612 BC)
Text genre, language: Treaty; Akkadian
Description: Esarhaddon (reigned 680-669 BC) was a Neo-Assyrian king whose succession treaty established his son, the crown prince Aššurbanipal (reigned 668-627 BC), as his successor to the throne of Assyria. An introductory section that ends with a list of divine witnesses is followed by 33 clauses elaborated over the course of over 350 lines, and finally by a curse section, a standard method of ensuring that the contracting parties fulfil their obligations as set out in the agreement. The 33 clauses that vassals undertake to follow include promises to help Aššurbanipal, to treat him with respect, to protect him, not to harm him, not to appoint another king, not to support any revolts against him, and other positive and negative declarations that aim to ensure loyalty to the new king upon his succession to the throne. The term translated as treaty is the Akkadian adê, which refers to an agreement whose parties are bound by an oath, and many of the extant treaty documents from the ancient Near East come from the Neo-Assyrian Empire.
Edition(s): Parpola, S. and Watanabe, K. 1988: 'Text 6', Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths (State Archives of Assyria 2); Wiseman, D. J. 1958: 'The Vassal-Treaties of Esarhaddon', Iraq 20:1, 30-99.
Bibliography: Grayson, A. K. 1987: 'Akkadian Treaties of the Seventh Century B.C.', JCS 39:2, 127-160; Lauinger, J. 2012: 'Esarhaddon's Succession Treaty at Tell Tayinat: Text and Commentary', JCS 64, 87-123; Nissinen, M. and P. B. Machinist 2003: 'Text 102. Succession Treaty of Esarhaddon', Prophets and Prophecy in the Ancient Near East (Society of Biblical Literature / Writings from the Ancient World); Parpola, S. 1987: 'Neo-Assyrian Treaties from the Royal Archives of Nineveh', JCS 39:2, 161-189; Wiseman, D. J. 1958: 'The Vassal-Treaties of Esarhaddon', Iraq 20:1, 1-99; cf. Levinson, B. M. 2010: 'Esarhaddon's Succesion Treaty as the Source for the Canon Formula in Deuteronomy 13:1', JAOS 130:3, 337-347.