In 1861 archeologists discovered a 7.2’ stele recording the first six years of the reign of Assyrian King Shalmaneser III (859-824 BC).[1]  The stele is dated to dated 853 BC, and describes Shalmaneser’s campaigns in western Mesopotamia and Syria.  At the end of the stele, however, it gives an account of the Battle of Qarqar.

Twelve kings allied themselves together against Shalmaneser at the Syrian city of Qarqar, one of whom was King Ahab of Israel.  The relevant portion of the stele says, “I approached the city of Qarqar. I razed, destroyed and burned the city of Qarqar , his royal city. 1,200 chariots, 1,200 cavalry, and 20,000 troops of Hadad-ezer of Damascus; 700 chariots, 700 cavalry, 10,000 troops of Irhuleni, the Hamathite; 2,000 chariots, and 10,000 troops of Ahab, the Israelite; 500 troops of Byblos; 1,000 troops of Egypt; 10 chariots and 10,000 troops of the land of Irqanatu; 200 troops of Matinu-ba’al of the city of Arvad; 200 troops of the land of Usanatu; 30 chariots and X,000 troops of Adon-ba’al of the land of Shianu, 1,000 camels of Gindibu of Arabia; X hundred troops of Ba’asa, the man of Bit ruhubi, the Ammonite–these twelve kings he took as his allies.”


  1. While this event is not described in the Bible, the Kurkh Monolith confirms the existence and reign of King Ahab.

[1]Year five is missing.