Founder and first king of the Neo-Babylonian (Babylon-Chaldean) kingdom.
Country: Iraq

  1. Biography of Nabopolassar
  2. Rise to Power
  3. Military Successes
  4. Fall of Assyria
  5. Later Years and Death

Biography of Nabopolassar

Nabopolassar, also known as Nabu-apal-usur, was the founder and first king of the Neo-Babylonian (or Babylonian-Chaldean) empire. Born in the Chaldean region, Nabopolassar initially served in the military under the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal and rose to the rank of commander. After the death of Kandalanu, he was appointed as the governor of Babylon.

Rise to Power

In 626 BCE, an anti-Assyrian uprising began in Babylon. Nabopolassar switched sides and joined the rebels. With the support of the Babylonian priesthood and the merchant-aristocratic class, he was proclaimed the king of Babylon on November 23, 626 BCE.

Military Successes

During the early years of his reign, Nabopolassar led successful military campaigns against the Assyrians, who tried to maintain control over key cities in Babylon. One by one, he ousted Assyrian garrisons from many cities, capturing Uruk in 616 BCE and Nippur the following year. With these conquests, Nabopolassar gained complete control over Babylon.

Around the same time, he formed a military alliance with the Medes. In 614 BCE, their combined forces, led by Cyaxares, invaded Assyria and besieged the ancient Assyrian capital of Ashur. Nabopolassar arrived with his army when the city was already plundered and destroyed. On the ruins of Ashur, Cyaxares and Nabopolassar forged a new alliance, pledging to continue their joint struggle against Assyria. The alliance was sealed with a dynastic marriage, as Cyaxares gave his daughter Amitu in marriage to Nabopolassar's son, Nebuchadnezzar.

Fall of Assyria

In 612 BCE, Nabopolassar and Cyaxares launched another campaign against Assyria. This time, their armies met at the walls of Nineveh, the Assyrian capital. For three months, the allies besieged the city, with the Assyrians offering fierce resistance. However, despite their bravery, Nineveh eventually fell. The Assyrian king Sin-shar-ishkun ordered the palace to be set ablaze and threw himself into the fire. Only a small group of Assyrian warriors, led by Ashur-uballit, brother of King Ashurbanipal, managed to escape the city.

According to the Babylonian Chronicle, after the destruction of Nineveh, Nabopolassar led a successful campaign against the borderlands with Urartu, known as Bit-Hanunia. This was followed by further conquests, significantly expanding the territory of the Neo-Babylonian empire.

Later Years and Death

In 607 BCE, Nabopolassar retired from active military campaigns and passed the command of the Babylonian army to his heir, Nebuchadnezzar. He spent his last years in Babylon and died in 604 BCE, learning shortly before his death that his son had defeated the remnants of the Assyrian army at the city of Carchemish.