Calculating percentages of battle casualties: On the reliability of Assyrian annals and reliefs from the 9th Century B.C.

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to analyse the sources available for approximating percentages of casualties. Three case studies have been chosen due to the good availability of sources: the battles of Haridu (877 B. C.), Hubuškia (859 B.C.) and Qarqar (853 B.C.). The study of the reliefs and annals describing these battles would indicate that in all three cases the Assyrians inflicted a (very) high percentage of casualties on their enemies, sometimes close to or over 50 %. However, when the historical context is considered it emerges that these figures cannot serve as a reliable record of the casualties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-192
JournalAltorientalische Forschungen
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013

Keywords

  • Ancient warfare
  • Ashurnasirpal II (Aššur-nāsir-apli
  • Assyrian history
  • Haridu (city)
  • Hubuškia (city)
  • King)
  • Qarqar (city)
  • Reliability of sources
  • Shalmaneser III (Salmānu-ašarēd

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