- (ASHUR-AHHE-IDDINA in assyrian; reigned 680–669 B.C.)Assyrian king, son and successor of Sennacherib, who had been assassinated in a palace coup. According to Esarhaddon’s own inscriptions, his father had destined him, though the youngest, to be his heir in view of the fact that his eldest son had died in Elam. In the ensuing fight for the throne, Esarhaddon prevailed and was crowned at Nineveh on the eighth of Adar 681. The main event of his career was the invasion of Egypt, which had changed its policy from being pro-Assyrian to fomenting revolts. In 671, after an abortive first effort three years before, he crossed the desert of Sinai with the help of Arab camels carrying water for the troops and fought three victorious battles against the Egyptians. He seized Memphis and took the son of the pharaoh Taharka prisoner. Esarhaddon had to repress numerous rebellions, such as that of Sidon in 677. He also had to campaign in Anatolia, where nomadic tribes from the east, the Cimmerians and Scythians, caused a good deal of trouble in Assyrian provinces. Toward Babylonia he pursued a policy of appeasement and began a program of reconstruction and redevelopment; he resettled exiled inhabitants and and restored to them their property. Esarhaddon also rebuilt the temple precinct of Babylon that had been destroyed by Sennacherib.Wary about the difficulties of a peaceful transition of power to his sons, he drew up a document affirming the succession of his younger son Ashurbanipal that stipulated that the older brother and crown prince Shamash-shumu-ukin was to be king of Babylon. All his vassals and the Assyrian nobility were sworn by oath to honor this proclamation. It was to be the cause of a bloody war between the brothers, which devastated Babylonia. In 669, Esarhaddon died on campaign on the way to Egypt.
Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. EdwART. 2012.