Shalmaneser III came to the throne of Assyria in 859 BC and reigned until 824 BC. He was the son of the mighty conqueror Ashurnasirpal II and the first Assyrian king to go to war with Israel.
In fact his nearly 35 year reign was filled with almost continual warfare in the north and to the west (Syria-Israel), as recorded on stele’s, statues, and cuneiform tablets of clay and stone…which record 34 war campaigns.
In 853 BC he attacked Syria and Israel at Qarqar, and it was at this time that king Ahab of Israel allied with the Syrians, Arabs, Egyptians and Phoenicians to oppose Shalmaneser at the banks of the Tigris River.
The alliance of 11 kings was led by king Hadad-ezer of Damascus and Irhuleni of Hamath. Shalmaneser claimed victory in his Monolith Inscription having put "25,000 men to the sword."
He also claimed that the opposing army was 63,000 men strong and mentions the very name of Ahab of Israel who provided 10,000 foot soldiers and 2,000 chariots. Shalmaneser left the area and did not return for another 8 years, in 845 BC he came with a massive army of 115,000 men and defeated the king of Damascus at Mount Hermon.
In 841 BC many kings brought great tribute to Shalmaneser to show their submissiveness, including the kings of Tyre, Sidon, and Jehu, the king of Israel. In fact the first to pay tribute were the kings of Israel and Judah. The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser shows king Jehu groveling in the dust before king Shalmaneser. From 839-828 BC Shalmaneser wreaked havoc in northwest Syria and in 835 BC he carved his name and image into a giant cliff beside a river called the Dog River, north of Beirut, Lebanon. He also records some of his mighty exploits during this time on the Balawat Gates. No king of Assyria left more royal inscriptions and annals than Shalmaneser III. The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser shows king Jehu of Israel offering tribute to Shalmaneser III in 841 BC. Shalmaneser made campaigns to the west, north and south, even plundering Babylon.
Shalmaneser’s capital was Nimrud (ancient Kalhu). His buildings were numerous, he built a huge walls, gates including Balawat, a great Ziggurat, temples and a huge fortress named Fort Shalmaneser by the excavators.