Stele of Tiglath-Pilesar III (biblical Pul), founder of the Assyrian Empire
Zagros mountains, Western Iran
745–727 BCE, Neo-Assyrian Period
H: 2.4 m
Gift of Ayoub Rabenou, Paris
Accession number: 74.49.96
Tiglath-pileser III's regime had a decisive impact on the ancient Near East and the people of the Land of Israel. Under his rule, an unprecedented policy of mass deportations changed the face of the region for generations to come. The inscription commemorates the king's campaigns in 738 BCE in the territories west of the Euphrates and in Iran. The mention of tribute paid by Menahem, son of Gadi, King of Israel (747-737 BCE) is significant, being referred to in the Bible: "King Pul of Assyria invaded the land, and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver that he might support him and strengthen his hold on the kingdom. Menahem exacted the money from Israel: every man of means had to pay fifty shekels of silver for the king of Assyria. The king of Assyria withdrew and did not remain in the land" (II Kings 15:19-20). Subsequently, Tiglath-pileser returned to southern Syria and Israel and in 734-732 BCE, during the rule of Pekah, King of Israel, conquered the Aramaic kingdom of Damascus and territories of the kingdom of Israel, an event also mentioned in the Bible (II Kings 15:29).
The king, clad in a robe, is wearing the royal headgear of the Assyrian kings and holding a mace, an emblem of authority. Symbols of the main Assyrian deities are seen above him. The stele was reconstructed from two original fragments. The third, which includes the king's garment, is a modern replica.
From the Israel Museum publications:
The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005
Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir