Assyrian Conquest of Egypt (671–661 B.C.E.)
PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Assyria vs. Egypt
PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Egypt
MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Assyrian conquest of Egypt
OUTCOME: Assyria conquered Egypt and launched
massive new building programs financed by tributes
collected from the Egyptians.
APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS:
After the assassination of the Assyrian king Sennacherib
(fl. 704–681) in 681—famed and feared for his destruction
of Babylon in 689 B.C.E.—an imperial council appointed
Essarhaddon (fl. 680–669 B.C.E.) his successor in 680.
Essarhaddon commenced rebuilding Babylon and made
peace with longstanding enemies in Elam and Aramaean,
allowing him to focus on an invasion of Egypt.
About 674 Essarhaddon attacked the Egyptians but
soon withdrew because of strategic blunders. He returned in
671, however, and conquered the capital city of Memphis,
bringing about the fall of Egypt itself. The conquest brought
vast quantities of tribute to Essarhaddon’s coffers, collected
by his agents and administrators who were spread across 22
provinces. With these funds Essarhaddon undertook massive
building programs in both Babylonia and Assyria.
Egyptian resistance was never fully crushed, however,
and Essarhaddon was killed in 669 as he led an attempt to
quell an uprising. Essarhaddon’s son Ashurbanipal
(668–627) relinquished Assyrian control of Egypt in 656.
See also ASSYRIAN WARS (746–609 B.C.E.).
Further reading: Robert W. Rogers, A History of Babylonia
and Assyria (Santa Clarita, Calif.: Books for Libraries,
1971); Nigel Tallis, Assyria at War, 1000–610 B.C. (London: