Esarhaddon, King of Assyria (680-669 BC)

'Esarhaddon' is a modern reading of the name, Ashur-ahu-iddina ('the god Ashur has given a brother'). His father, Sennacherib, was assassinated by two other sons, whom Esarhaddon had to fight for the throne. The successful son reaped the rewards of Sennacherib's hard-won successes in Babylonia and almost all Esarhaddon's campaigning was related to safeguarding frontier security.

Egypt's repeated meddling in Palestine eventually provoked Esarhaddon to extend Assyrian activity into Egypt itself, and in 671 BC the Assyrian armies captured Memphis. Establishing control required more than the defeat of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty and in 669 BC Esarhaddon mounted another campaign to Egypt to cement Assyrian domination but died on route. He was probably about to move the capital from Nineveh, back to Nimrud. Esarhaddon's mother was Naqia, a lady of Aramaean descent. During his reign she held a position of unprecedented authority, behaving in many ways like a king.

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