History Files


Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Syria




Bit Adini / Beit Eden (Barsib)

Aramaeans occupied various area in ancient Syria in the eleventh and tenth centuries BC, once the Assyrian influence which was keeping them at bay had faded. One such group took a former Luwian stronghold in northern Syria and named it Bit Adini (modern Tell Barsnip near Tell Ahmar), and within a century or so they had formed a city state which held some importance during the ninth century BC. The city was situated on both sides of a crossing point on the Euphrates which was probably already in use, and would therefore be an ideal place to control trade between the Levant and Mesopotamia. At first, it may have been controlled by the city of Hamath.

c.900 BC

Bit Adini, on the eastern border of Carchemish, may achieve independence around this date, if indeed it had at all previously been controlled by Hamath.

fl early 800s BC


bef 876 - af 858 BC

Akhuni bar Adin

Made Bit Adini a centre of resistance.

883 BC

A man from Bit Adini is installed as king in the rebellious city of Suru.

877 - 876 BC

Bit Adini becomes involved in the Assyrian hostilities against Laqe. The following year, Assyria leads a punitive campaign against Bit Adini's fastness of Kaprabu east of the Euphrates. Akhuni is first mentioned at this time, when he submits to Assyria and pays tribute.

c.870 BC

Ashurnasirpal II crosses the Euphrates with his Assyrian army, erupting into Syria. He takes further tribute from Akhuni.

858 - 856 BC

The Assyrians under Shalmaneser III conquer Bit Adini after a series of campaigns. Shalmaneser then takes his army north and east into Urartu to combat that threat to his northern borders.


After conquering the strategically important city of Bit Adini (otherwise known as Barsib), the Assyrians made it a provincial capital and garrison town. They renamed it with an Assyrian name (which meant Quay of Shalmaneser) and installed an Assyrian governor, although the city itself was already thoroughly Assyrianised. The palace was decorated with frescoes representing the same type of scenes that could be found in stone reliefs at Kalhu, one of the Assyrian capital cities.

c.790s - 750s BC

Shamshi-ilu, is perhaps the most powerful man of his time. He is active under four Assyrian kings in the first half of the century. Making Kar-Shulmanu-Ashared his base, he campaigns west of the Euphrates on his own behalf without reference to the king.

c.750 - 740 BC

Shamshi-ilu (bar Gayah?)

Assyrian governor. Son of Gayah?

612 BC

With the fall of Assyria, Barsib falls under the control of the new Babylonian empire. It never regains its former importance.