Stone panel from the South-West Palace of Sennacherib

Nineveh, northern Iraq
Neo-Assyrian, about 700-695 BC

Soldiers of the royal guard

This panel was one of a group found, out of position, somewhere between the palace of King Sennacherib (reigned 704-681 BC) and the Temple of Ishtar, the principal goddess of Nineveh. The panels may have lined a bridge or corridor used by the king when visiting the temple.

The scene shows the king and his entourage in formal court dress. The two figures on this panel formed part of the king's bodyguard. The archer on the left is one of the lightly-armed soldiers who were probably drawn from the Aramaic-speaking communities in and around the Assyrian heartland, which the Assyrians had conquered. The Assyrians incorporated soldiers from all parts of the empire into their forces. The spear-man on the right wears a turban fastened by a headband with long ear-flaps, and a short kilt curving upwards above his knees. His clothing tells us that he comes from around Palestine. An almost identical uniform is worn by the men of Lachish, in the kingdom of Judah, as represented in panels showing Sennacherib's siege of the city in 701 BC from another part of the palace.

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More information


J.E. Curtis and J.E. Reade (eds), Art and empire: treasures from (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

R.D. Barnett, 'The siege of Lachish', Israel Exploration Journal, 8 (1958)


Height: 160.000 cm
Width: 111.000 cm
Depth: 9.000 cm (extant)

Museum number

ME 124901


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


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