Warfare > Battle of Susa
Battle of Susa
Battle of Susa
Part of the Assyrian conquest of Elam
Susa, sacked by the Assyrians. Ashurbanipal's brutal campaign against Susa in 647 BC is triumphantly recorded in this relief. Here, flames rise from the city as Assyrian soldiers topple it with pickaxes and crowbars and carry off the spoils.
Date 647 BC
Location Mesopotamia, Elam
Result Decisive Assyrian victory; total destruction of Susa
Commanders and leaders
Casualties and losses
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Campaigns of the
Rise of Neo-Assyria Campaigns of Ashurnasirpal II (Suru) Campaigns of Shalmaneser III (Qarqar) Campaigns of Shamshi-Adad V (Dur-Papsukkal) Campaigns of Tiglath Pileser III (Gezer) War with Urartu Campaigns of Sargon II Campaigns of Sennacherib (Sennacherib's campaign in Judah, Azekah, Lachish, Jerusalem, Diyala River, Halule, 1st Babylon) Campaigns of Esarhaddon Conquest of Elam Campaigns of Ashurbanipal (Ulai, Susa, Ashdod) 2nd Babylon Arrapha Assur Nineveh Harran
The Battle of Susa was a battle involving Assyrians and Elamites. The Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, had grown tired of the Elamites' attacks on the Mesopotamians, and he decided to destroy Susa as punishment.
In 647 BC, the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal leveled the city during a war in which the people of Susa apparently participated on the other side. A tablet unearthed in 1854 by Austen Henry Layard in Nineveh reveals Ashurbanipal as an "avenger", seeking retribution for the humiliations the Elamites had inflicted on the Mesopotamians over the centuries. Ashurbanipal dictates Assyrian retribution after his successful siege of Susa:
“ Susa, the great holy city, abode of their gods, seat of their mysteries, I conquered. I entered its palaces, I opened their treasuries where silver and gold, goods and wealth were amassed... I destroyed the ziggurat of Susa. I smashed its shining copper horns. I reduced the temples of Elam to naught; their gods and goddesses I scattered to the winds. The tombs of their ancient and recent kings I devastated, I exposed to the sun, and I carried away their bones toward the land of Ashur. I devastated the provinces of Elam and on their lands I sowed salt. ”
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Coordinates: 32.18922°N 48.25778°E
Battle of Susa
Year: 647 BC
Place: Susa, the capital of Elam [32°11'21.11''N and 48°16'02.26''E]
Participants: Assyria ¤ Elam
Result: Assyrian victory and destruction of Susa
Consequences: The Fall of Elam and the rise of the Medians
Five years after the Battle of the Ulaï River the Assyrians finally decided to destroy the formidable Elamites. in 647 BC Ashurbanipal destroyed Susa, the Elamite capital, as a retribution of an alleged Elamite humiliation of the people of Mesopotamia. Ashurbanipal says what he did to Susa:
"Susa, the Great holy city, abode of their Gods, seat of their mysteries, I conquered. I entered its palaces, I opened their treasuries where silver and gold, goods and wealth were amassed... I destroyed the ziggurat of Susa. I smashed its shining copper horns. I reduced the temples of Elam to naught; their gods and goddesses I scattered to the winds. The tombs of their ancient and recent kings I devastated, I exposed to the sun, and I carried away their bones toward the land of Ashur. I devastated the provinces of Elam and on their lands I sowed salt"
( Persians: Masters of Empire - Lost Civilizations)
(The Destruction of Susa by Ashurbanipal, Wikipedia)
The battles before had been so violent that the Elamite king Teumann had been beheaded when he was trying to escape in his chariot 8 years before the destruction of Susa. In 639 BC, Ashurbanipal decided to move his entire army from Assyria to destroy Elam once and for all. They managed to do say and Ashurbanipal gives his own account:
"For a distance of a month and twenty-five days' journey I devastated the provinces of Elam. Salt and sihlu I scattered over them... The dust of Susa, Madaktu, Haltemash and the rest of the cities I gathered together and took to Assyria... The noise of people, the tread of cattle and sheep, the glad shouts of rejoicing, I banished from its fields. Wild asses, gazelles and all kinds of beasts of the plain I caused to lie down among them, as if at home."
(Mark Healey: The Ancient Assyrians)
(Clubbing and Beheading of Teumann the Elamite king, Utah State University)
The Assyrians had now laid the foundations for their own destruction, because the Iranians more notably the Medes and the Persians filled the power-vacuum left by the Elamites. The Assyrian Empire had the classical problem of great empires; over-stretching. The Medes were united as a nation instead of city-states under the leadership of Deioces, and they were now allying with the Babylonians against the Assyrians. The new coalition planned to treat the Assyrians the same way they treated their defeated adversaries...