Stone panel from the South-West Palace of Sennacherib (Room 28, Panel 9)

Nineveh, northern Iraq
Neo-Assyrian, around 645 BC

One of the last Assyrian relief carvings

This carved alabaster slab is part of one of the last series of sculptures carved at Nineveh to decorate the interior walls of the palace of King Sennacherib (reigned 704-681 BC). It originally lined a corridor. The scene depicted on the slab is part of a story that began on one side with a battle in southern Mesopotamia. The region is known as Babylonia or Chaldaea, from the local Chaldaean tribal groups.

This slab shows the enemy, who have fled from the Assyrians into the reed-swamps. Some Assyrians (who can be identified by their pointed helmets) are boarding their boats while others search through the marshes. A few old men and women are crouching out of sight on one of the boats built from bundles of reeds; others are slipping away along a backwater, while younger men shoot arrows from hiding places. Some of the prisoners have their heads cut off, others are ferried back, right, to be escorted on firmer ground into captivity. They join the rear of a long procession of deportees.

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More information

Bibliography

J.E. Reade, Assyrian sculpture-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)

Dimensions

Height: 10.660 m (total)
Width: 2.130 m (total)

Museum number

ME 124955

WCO26632

The palace was excavated by A.H. Layard (1846-51) and by many later archaeologists

Location

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