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Of Production, Trade, Profit and Destruction: An Economic Interpretation of Sennacherib’s Third Campaign

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Sennacherib’s campaign to the southern Levant in 701 BC is an extensively studied episode in the Neo-Assyrian period. Nevertheless, despite the abundance of sources, the existing scholarship has left several questions unanswered. Furthermore, although economic growth is suggested to have been a motor behind Neo-Assyrian expansion, current interpretations of the campaign do not consider this to have been its main goal. This article will present an analysis focussing particularly on this economic motive, an analysis that requires an alternative interpretation of the Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions. The outcome sheds a new light not only on Assyrian confrontations with Egypt in the late 8th-century BC southern Levant but also on Judah’s and Gaza’s roles in the events, revealing altogether a world of long-distance trade.

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