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Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son Amêl-Marduk ('man of Marduk'), the Ĕvil-Merodach of 2 Ki. xxv. 27 ff. (B.C. 561—559). The only inscriptions of this reign, which we at present possess, are contract-tablets. Amêl-Marduk, after a 'lawless and dissolute' reign of two years1, was assassinated by his brother-in-law, Nergal-shar-uzur (Neriglissar), who then seized the throne. Nergal-shar-uzur, like Nebuchadnezzar, was a devoted worshipper of Marduk, and restored temples and other buildings. After reigning for four years (B.C. 559—–555) he was succeeded by his youthful son Lâbashi-marduk, who, on account of the evil qualities which he displayed (dià tò ñoììà ἐμφαίνειν κακοήθη), was after nine months beaten to death (άπεтνμπаvioon) by his friends3. The conspirators then placed one of their own number, Nabonnēdus (Nabu-na'id), on the throne: in the king's own words, which here supplement the brief narrative of Berosus by me graphic details1—
They all conducted me to the palace, cast themselves at my feet, and did homage to my royalty. At the command of Marduk, my lord, I was exalted to the sovereignty of the land, while they cried out, 'Father of the country! there is none his equal!'
Nabu-na'id, as Abydenus says, was 'no relation' to his predecessor: he was not, like Nebuchadnezzar, a Chaldaean, but a native Babylonian, the son of one Nabu-balāṭsu-iķbi, as the inscription on a brick from Babylon testifies
Nabu-na'id, king of Babylon, the chosen of Nebo and Marduk, the son of Nabu-balāṭsu-iķbi, the wise prince, am I.
Nabu-na'id was the last native king of Babylon: he was still on the throne when the city was taken by Cyrus, B.C. 538. As
1 Berosus, in an extract ap. Joseph. c. Ap. i. 20.
2 KB. iii. 2, pp. 71-79.
Berosus, .c. His successor speaks of him as one who 'knew not how to rule, and placed himself on the throne against the will of the gods' (Messerschmidt, Die Inschr. der Stele Nabuna'ids, 1896, p. 29).
4 Messerschmidt, p. 29 (col. V. ll. 1—13).
5 Ap. Euseb. Praep. Εv. ix. 41, 3 (προσήκοντά οἱ οὐδέν).
6 KB. iii. 2, p. 119, No. 1 (similarly No. II, and pp. 97, 121).
his inscriptions shew1, he devoted himself to restoring the ancient shrines and temples of the country, and excavated the substructures of such ancient sanctuaries as those at Larsa, Uruk, Ur, Sippar, and Nippur, until he reached the foundation-stones of the kings who had either originally built or subsequently restored them. The dates given by him for several of the kings thus mentioned by him have been of importance to modern scholars in fixing the chronology of ancient Babylonia. Belshazzar (Bêl-shar-uzur) was Nabu-na'id's son: he is named on several contract-tablets2, in all except one, with the adjunct, 'the king's son,'-a title something like that of 'Crown Prince.' There are also two of Nabu-na'id's own inscriptions in which, after describing his restoration of different temples, he closes with a prayer on his son's behalf—
And as to Bêl-shar-uzur, the chief son, the offspring of my body, the fear of thy great divinity do thou set in his heart; may he not give way to sin; with life's abundance may he be satisfied 3.
Other references to Belshazzar are contained in the 'Annalistic Tablet' of Cyrus, found by Mr Pinches in 1879 among the collections in the British Museum, which also throws valuable light upon the political events of Nabu-na'id's reign, and upon the manner in which ultimately Cyrus gained possession of Babylon. The top of the tablet is broken off or mutilated; but the most important parts are, happily, intact. Thus, in Nabu-na'id's 6th year (B.C. 549) it is stated that Kurâsh (Cyrus), 'king of Anshan' (a district E. of the Tigris, in the S. or S. W. of Elam), was engaged in war with Ishtuvegu (the Astyages of Herodotus, king of Media); the troops of Ishtuvegu, however, revolted, and delivered their king into the hands of Cyrus (cf. Hdt. i. 127), who then attacked and took his capital Agamtânu (Ecbatana). In his 7th year Nabu
1 KB. iii. 2, pp. 81-113. 2 Eight are referred to by Prince, p. 263 f.; three of these are translated in RP.2 iii. 125-7. The notices are all incidental; e.g. a house is let for three years to 'Nabo-kin-akhi, the secretary of Bêlshar-uzur, the king's son.'
KB. iii. 2, p. 97; similarly pp. 83, 87.
na'id was in Tevâ,-probably some favourite residence in the country, and did not come to Babylon, so that the great annual procession of Bel and Nebo on New Year's Day could not take place: 'the king's son,-i.e. Belshazzar,—the nobles, and his soldiers were in the country of Akkad' (north Babylonia). The 8th year is without incident. In the 9th year the statements respecting the king and 'the king's son' are repeated: it is also added that in Nisan (March) Cyrus, 'king of Persia,' collected his troops, and crossed the Tigris below Arbēla (a little E. of Nineveh), and in Iyyar (April) attacked and conquered a country, the name of which is now lost. In the 10th and 11th years the statements respecting the king and 'the king's son' are again repeated. The part of the tablet relating to the 12th to the 16th years is lost: under the 17th year (B.C. 538) we have the account of Cyrus' conquest of Babylon :
12 In1 the month of Tammuz2 [July], when Cyrus, in the city of Upê (Opis), on the banks of 18 the river Zalzallat, had delivered battle against the troops of Akkad, he subdued the inhabitants of Akkad. 14 Wherever they gathered themselves together, he smote them. On the 14th day of the month, Sippar was taken without fighting. 15 Nabuna'id fled. On the 16th, Gubaru, governor [piḥu,—whence the Heb. peḥah] of the country of Guti, and the soldiers of Cyrus, without fighting 16 entered Babylon. In consequence of delaying, Nabu-na'id
1 The translation is based on that of Hagen in Delitzsch and Haupt's Beiträge zur Assyriologie, ii. (1894), pp. 205 ff. The translation in RP.2, v. 158 ff., is in many respects antiquated. See further on the inscription Whitehouse, Expos. Times, June, 1893, p. 396 ff.
Probably (Meyer, ZATW. 1898, p. 340 f.) an error of the engraver for Tishri (October); for Elul (September) has been already reached in 1. 10.
3 On the Tigris, about 110 miles N. of Babylon.
4 Near the Euphrates, about 70 miles N. W. of Babylon.
5 Evidently the prototype of the 'Assyrian' Gobryas, who, according to Xenophon, having a grudge against the King of Babylon for the murder of his only son, joined Cyrus (Cyrop. IV. vi, v. ii); and is mentioned by him in his (unhistorical) account of the capture of Babylon, as a principal leader of those who first entered the city, while the inhabitants were feasting, and made their way into the palace (VII. v. 8, 24-32).
6 A part of the mountainous region W. of Media, and N. of Babylonia.
was taken prisoner in Babylon. To the end of the month the shield (-bearer)s 17 of the country of Guti guarded the gates of E-sagil1: no one's spear approached E-sagil, or came within the sanctuaries, 18 nor was any standard brought therein. On the 3rd day of Marcheshvan [November], Cyrus entered Babylon. 19 Dissensions (?) were allayed (?) before him. Peace for the city he established: peace to all Babylon 20 did Cyrus proclaim. Gubaru, his governor, appointed governors in Babylon. 21 From the month of Kislev [December] to the month of Adar [March—viz. in the following year, 537], the gods of the country of Akkad, whom Nabu-na'id had brought down to Babylon, 22returned to their own cities. On the 11th day of Marcheshvan, during the night, Gubaru made an assault (?), and slew 23 the king's son (?) 2. From the 27th of Adar [March] to the 3rd of Nisan [April] there was lamentation in Akkad: all the people smote their heads, etc.
The stages in the conquests of Cyrus are here traced by a contemporary hand. First, in 549, he appears as king of Anshan (or Anzan)-evidently his native home-in the S. of Elam3: in that capacity, the troops of Astyages desert to him, and he gains possession of Ecbatana. In 546 he is called 'king of Persia' it is reasonable therefore to infer that in the interval since 549 he had effected the conquest of this country. We thus learn incidentally that though Cyrus and his successors are commonly spoken of as 'Persian' kings, he was not a Persian by origin; he and his ancestors were kings of 'Anshan,' a district of Elam, and he only became king of Persia by right of conquest. In 538 his attack upon Babylon begins. His approach is made from the North. First, he secures Opis and the surrounding parts of N. Babylonia; then he advances to Sippar, which he takes without striking a blow: two days afterwards his general, Gubaru, enters Babylon, which likewise offers no resistance; Nabu-na'id is taken prisoner, but otherwise everything proceeds peaceably; the victors respect the property of
1 The great temple of Marduk in Babylon.
2 The tablet is injured at this point; but the king's son' is the reading which those who have most carefully examined the tablet consider the most probable.
3 See the Map in Maspero's Struggle of the Nations, p. 31.
the citizens and of the temples, and a strong guard is placed round the temple E-sagil to protect it from plunder. Shortly afterwards, Cyrus himself enters Babylon, and proclaims peace to the city. He entrusts the government of the city to Gubaru, who in his turn appoints subordinate governors. Belshazzar, however, more energetic-or successful--than his father, still held out,-perhaps in a fortified palace,--but is slain by Gubaru in a night assault. After this, Cyrus formally assumed the title of 'king of Babylon' as well as the other grandiloquent titles borne by the Babylonian kings; and (as contract-tablets of the time shew) was at once recognized as the legitimate sovereign.
The story told by Herodotus (i. 191), and Xenophon (Cyrop. VII. v. 15—31), of the stratagem by which Babylon was taken by Cyrus, the waters of the Euphrates being diverted, and the city entered during the night-according to Xenophon, by Gobryas and Gadates-from the river-bed, while the people were all celebrating a festival,—which has been supposed to fall in with the representation in Dan. v. and with Is. xxi. 5 (cf. xliv. 27; Jer. li. 36),—is shewn by the inscription to be unhistorical: Babylon, it is clear, offered no resistance to the conqueror. At the same time, it is worth observing, Xenophon and the inscription both agree in assigning a prominent part to Gubaru (Gobryas) in gaining possession of the city.
The ease with which the transference of power from Nabuna'id to Cyrus was effected, was no doubt due largely to the unpopularity of Nabu-na'id, who not only year after year lived in retirement at Tevâ, and neglected to discharge the public duties devolving upon him, but also gave great offence by removing arbitrarily the images of many local deities from their shrines and transferring them to Babylon. It is probable that the priests, who were both numerous and influential, were in particular adverse to the ruling dynasty. Cyrus, in a proclamation (the so-called 'Cylinder Inscription') issued by him shortly after his entry into the city, shewed that he understood how to utilize the popular disaffection; he represented himself as the favoured servant of Marduk, specially chosen by him to become