Stone panel from the South-West Palace of Sennacherib (Room 36, no.
Nineveh, northern Iraq, Neo-Assyrian, about 700-681 BC
This alabaster panel was part of a series which decorated the walls of a room in the palace of King Sennacherib (reigned 704-681 BC). It tells the story of the siege and capture of the city of Lachish in 701 BC
The story continues from the previous panel (no. 9) of the relief. This section decorated a corner of the room.
Having been exiled from their city, the people of Lachish move through the countryside to be resettled elsewhere in the Assyrian Empire. Below them high officials and foreigners are being tortured and executed. It is likely that they are being flayed alive.
The foreigners are possibly officers from Nubia. The Nubians were seen as sharing responsibility for the rebellion. Much of Egypt at this time was ruled by a line of kings from Nubia (the Twenty-fifth Dynasty) who were keen to interfere in the politics of the Levant, to contain the threat of Assyrian expansion.
As Sennacherib's forces laid siege to Lachish, an Egyptian army appeared, led by a man called Taharqa, according to the Old Testament. He may be the later pharaoh of Egypt with the same name (690-664 BC).
Sennacherib's account claims that the rebels had called on the support of the kings of Egypt (Delta princes) and the Kings of Kush (Nubia). The armies clashed on the plain of Eltekeh. While Sennacherib claimed victory, he was still not able to capture Jerusalem.
The story continues on the next panel (no. 11) of the relief.
Sennacherib, king of Assyria (704-681 BC)
Sennacherib came to the throne of Assyria in 704 BC. He
established his capital in the ancient city of
Nineveh, which he rebuilt in unparalleled splendour.
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When Sennacherib came to the throne he established his capital in the ancient city of Nineveh, which he rebuilt in unparalleled splendour.
Sennacherib's palace was described as 'without rival', and many of the rooms were decorated with alabaster wall reliefs.
The Assyrian civilisation, centred in the fertile Tigris valley of northern Iraq, can be traced back to at least the third millennium BC.
J.M. Russell, Sennacheribs palace without ri (University of Chicago Press, 1991)
J.E. Reade, Assyrian sculpture-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)
T.C. Mitchell, The Bible in the British Museu (London, The British Museum Press, 1988)
Height: 269.2 cm
Width: 180 cm
Height: 269.2 cm